Shar Rasho’s shooting opens possibilities for Niles North

SHARE Shar Rasho’s shooting opens possibilities for Niles North

PARK RIDGE — There’s an old saying that describes a person who exploits generosity: “You give her a yard and she takes a mile.” Shar Rasho, a senior sharpshooter on the Niles North girls basketball team, has put her own spin on that idiom this year.

All season, Rasho has proved to opposing defenses that if they give her a yard of space, there’s a good chance she’s going to knock down a jump shot.

“I always shoot it whenever I’m open,” Rasho said.

Rasho said shooting always has been the strongest part of her game, but she’s never shot as well as she has this year. Rasho is dangerous when given open looks from behind the 3-point arc, and she provides a perfect complement to junior post player Kienya Jones.

Rasho drained six 3-pointers en route to 22 points against Maine East on Dec. 10, 2013, the first time the Vikings and Blue Demons met this season. Maine East coach Karol Hanusiak adjusted her team’s defense before the host Blue Demons beat Niles North 58-40 Friday.

Maine East began the game with guard Janelle Alba Garner on Rasho. Even when the ball swung to the opposite side of the floor, Alba Garner didn’t drift away from Rasho. Maine East switched to a 3-2 zone in the second half because of foul trouble, and its players immediately closed out on Rasho almost every time she touched the ball.

Despite all of the defensive attention, Rasho knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 10 points.

“We made sure we knew where she was,” Hanusiak said. “… That was our goal tonight: if she was going to take a 3, there better be a hand in her face, there better be a body next to her.”

Defenses have been playing Rasho tighter and tighter as the season has progressed, she and Niles North coach Dan Paxson said. Paxson has installed a few quick-hit plays to help Rasho generate open looks. He said some are on baseline drifts to get her free in the corner, some are off screens and others are on penetrate-and-kick action.

Rasho also has adjusted what she does within the Vikings’ offense.

“I just have to be patient with my screens so I can get an open shot,” she said. “I can’t just stand in one spot and expect to be open. I’ve just got to keep moving around.”

Paxson said most of her opportunities from the perimeter have come from within the Vikings’ offense. Opposing defenses have focused on double- and triple-teaming Jones, who’s capable of eclipsing 30 points any night.

Teams often have to make an unenviable choice against Niles North, especially if they lack a quality post defender to slow Jones.

“She opens the floor for Kienya,” Paxson said of Rasho. “When Shar is on Kienya’s side, a team has to make a decision if they’re going to help off of Shar. Shar, being able to put that much time into her game and turning into the type of player that she’s become, I think it helps Kienya’s low-post game. There’s a little bit more room in there to operate when you’ve got someone who can shoot it on the perimeter.”

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