Prep Athlete of the Week: Marshall’s Sharbono taking advantage of opportunity

Coming into the season, Marshall’s Riley Sharbono was looking to make an impact on the Tiger boys’ basketball team.

Now 11 games into the season, the junior guard is doing just that.

Sharbono is averaging 13.6 points per game after the first 11 games and dropped 21 points on both Windom Area and Sioux Falls Lincoln (S.D.) in two of the last three.

First-year head coach Travis Carroll had a chance to watch many of the players last season, as well as during the spring and summer AAU seasons, and he liked what he saw from Sharbono.

“He played a lot this spring and a lot this summer,” Carroll said. “Even though he didn’t play a lot on varsity last year, he played a lot on the JV team and did a lot of good things.

“Those guys came into those practices and had to earn those opportunities in practice and earn those opportunities early in the year.”

Sharbono earned a starting role at the start of the season and hasn’t looked back. He leads the team with 150 points and 277 minutes played. His 3-point percentage is over 64 percent and he’s shooting a solid 78 percent from the free-throw line.

But Sharbono is quick to point out that it’s not all him.

“A lot comes from teammates. We’re finding each other well when we cut,” Sharbono said. “Sometimes you have to make that extra pass to get an easier shot attempt than the one your are looking at.”

Carroll also sees what makes him effective offensively.

“He’s very patient. Our team passes the ball very well and he understands when to cut to the basket,” Carroll said. “He always catches the ball ready to attack the rim and he does a good job. With our offense there’s a lot of opportunities to cut to the basket without the ball and he does that really well.”

Though it may not show up in the stat sheet, defense is one of Sharbono’s favorite parts of the game, which is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff.

“We also ask him to work hard on the defensive end and guard the other team’s good players,” Carroll said. “He understands where he needs to be on defense. He understands players’ strengths and weaknesses. Anytime you are guarding good shooters, you like someone that closes out well also.”

On the season, Sharbono has 13 steals and 39 rebounds. He understands that it takes more than scoring to become a complete player.

“I would probably say I like defense better than offense,” Sharbono said. “I like shutting people down.”

The Tigers are on a 10-game winning streak after dropping their first game of the year to Fairmont, but there’s a lot of season left, which means there’s plenty of time for the Tigers to reach their goals of success in the conference and section.

“That’s the goal. Win the conference and get that three-game winning streak in sections, then see what happens at state,” Sharbono said.