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Latimer’s career-high 35 points spark Kettle Run’s lopsided win over Fauquier boys

Friday, Feb. 7 | By Jeff Malmgren

Rashawn Latimer scored a career-high 35 points during Kettle Run's 63-43 win over Fauquier on Friday. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Rashawn Latimer seemed to feed off the jeers from Fauquier High's student section.

It worked like audible fruit for a basketball-playing Pac-Man. He ate it up and scored a lot of points.

Fueled by the crowd, Latimer stormed around the gym all night and finished with a career-high 35 points that led the Kettle Run Cougars to an emphatic win, 63-43, over the rival Fauquier Falcons on the road in Warrenton.

"I was hyped," he said after the victory. "Just the excitement – a big game."

On the Cougars' opening possession of the game, one of Latimer's teammates turned the ball over by traveling. That prompted the Fauquier student section to chant, "You can't do that" while clapping rhythmically. A big smile spread across Latimer's face and he began clapping along with the opposing fans.

"Take that stuff and it motivates you," the Kettle Run senior said. "Don't let it bring you down. Be excited with them."

Latimer went on to make 3 of 4 3-point field goal attempts in the first quarter and finished the period with 11 points, including a steal-and-jumper that gave the Cougars a 16-13 lead.

"He was huge," Cougars coach Troy Washington said. "Early in the game, you realized that he was kind of feeling it [but] we didn't do anything to necessarily get him the ball."

Latimer added six points in the second quarter, but Fauquier took a 26-24 halftime lead thanks to a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Jeremiah Blackwell. Latimer, however, took over in the third period.

With Kettle Run trailing, 29-28, he penetrated and passed to Danny Mattson for a 3-pointer. Then Latimer scored the game's next eight points to give Kettle Run a 39-29 lead with 93 seconds remaining in the third.

"He just couldn't miss," Falcons point guard Travis Croson said. "That's probably the best game I've seen him play."

"I've never seen him score 35," Fauquier coach Wayne Brizzi said. "But we know he's a great player and he can definitely go off like that."

Latimer felt during pregame warmups that he might have one of those mystical in-the-zone games.

"Some nights in shoot-around it ain't always falling," he said of his shots. "In the game, you take a second and think, 'Should I shoot this or not.'

"I had confidence in my shot" tonight, he said.

Latimer didn't hesitate to shoot Friday, but he also didn't force bad shots. That has been an occasional tendency in the past for the Kettle Run guard.

"Didn't see that tonight," Washington said. "His decision making was very valuable."

After scoring via mostly 3-pointers in the first quarter, Latimer used steals and defensive rebounds to create transition field goals the rest of the night. He finished with a game-high four steals and seven rebounds.

"Defensively, now he puts himself in passing lanes and gets steals. That's really helped him," Washington said. "A lot of his baskets took place in transition. That's his style."

Latimer added 10 more points in the fourth quarter, which Kettle Run began with a 6-0 run as it built its lead all the way to the final buzzer.

With the win, Kettle Run improved its record to 13-4 (4-2 Conference 27), while Fauquier fell to 11-6 (6-3 Conference 22). The Cougars also stayed alive in the Evergreen District race, improving to 6-2, while Fauquier fell to 6-1 with Culpeper still leading at 7-1.

Fauquier's performance Friday appeared in stark contrast to its impressive win Monday, 83-73, over a Culpeper team with a 16-3 overall record.

"If you have a reason, let me know," Brizzi said. "They [the Cougars] pushed the ball and ran the floor well; got great shots; good penetration."

Kettle Run also played extraordinary defense. The Falcons' traditional back-door layups and baskets off dribble penetration appeared almost nonexistent. Instead, they settled for quick perimeter jumps shots.

"They didn't give us a lot of good looks," Brizzi said. "It just didn't seem like we had any rhythm on offense at all."

By the mid-point of the third quarter, Fauquier seemed to abandon its set offense completely, instead opting to shoot those quick jumpers.

"They just took control," Croson said of the Cougars. "It felt like we couldn't do anything. Putting up bad shots. … When we have one of those [mindsets] we usually don't win."

Fauquier made only 16 of 54 field goal attempts (30 percent), including 3 of 19 3-pointers (16 percent). Kettle Run made 23 of 40 field goal attempts (58 percent), including 5 of 12 3-pointers (42 percent).

The Cougars also out-rebounded Fauquier, 32-24, during the teams' third meeting this season.

"Both [previous] games, they killed us on the boards," Washington said.

Latimer didn't play during the first meeting and Kettle Run won a close game, 52-50. Mattson didn't play in the second meeting and Kettle Run lost, 62-55. Those senior teammates shared the floor Friday.

Mattson finished with 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

"He's a big key to our team," Latimer said.

Eddy Benton added seven points and four rebounds for Kettle Run, while Justus Drakeford and Christian Yancey had three assists each, and Brendan Deliee added six rebounds.

For Fauquier, Blackwell had 16 points and two assists, while Croson had seven points, three assists and two steals. Jay Jay Roberts added seven points and seven rebounds, while Dana Rector had five points and five rebounds.

Fauquier's defense, however, couldn't match the enthusiasm of its student section.

"This is one of the best environments since I've been" with Kettle Run, Washington said of the Fauquier gym. "It was great out there."

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