His ledger included a high of 21 points in a Dec. 2 loss to Model, as well as a 16-point performance in the first half of a win over Kentucky School for the Deaf on Tuesday.
“He’s become more aggressive on offense, which is what we need him to do,” Burgin coach Don Irvine said. “He’s not just a spot-up shooter, but he’s putting the ball on the floor, handling it more, taking the ball to the basket.”
Those are things Shewmaker didn’t do nearly as much of last year, when he averaged 6.7 points. He said he readily gave the ball up to teammates Trenton Claunch and Logan Hill, who have since graduated, and now he finds that younger players are doing the same with him as well as with other veterans such as Travis McEachern and Alex Beckerson.
“If I'm open they'll kick it, or if I cut and open they'll kick it to me,” Shewmaker said.
At the same time, Shewmaker is more of a target for opposing defenses, and Irvine said his shooting percentage has slipped because of that.
“He’s not shooting ball yet as good as he did last year, but he’s getting better defenders on him, too,” Irvine said.
Shewmaker said he’s learning to take what the defense will give him.
“If they play off of me, I'll shoot. If they play too tight and I can get around them, I'll drive, and then if I drive I can kick to the open teammate,” he said.
Shewmaker said he spent a great deal of time on his shot in the offseason.
“Last year I developed my shot from what it was, and this year I've been working on it more to get my form down, developing it into more of a consistent thing,” he said.
Irvine said Shewmaker has also slipped a bit at the free throw line, where he led Burgin last year at 75.8 percent.
“I feel like he’s going to fix that before very long,” the coach said.
Shewmaker said he knows it’s also important that he play better defense this season.
“I've been working on my defense, and I feel like it's getting better,” he said.
Irvine said Shewmaker shined on defense just as he did on offense in the first half of the win over KSD, spearheading an attack that forced 17 turnovers.
“We need him to be a leader on defense, and I think he was in that game,” Irvine said.
Shewmaker said that because there are so many new players, it’s taking time for the Bulldogs to gel.
“We haven't played together that much ... but we're starting to get on the same page and play better together,” he said.
Shewmaker is a dedicated athlete who has also enjoyed success in cross country and baseball, and Irvine said he’s confident that the junior will continue to do his best for the basketball Bulldogs.