Tigers’ 31-game unbeaten streak vs. SAC foes snapped
BY WILL WILLEMS- SPORTS EDITOR
DOVER — The Western Boone Lady Stars had been close in recent years to beating their biggest rival, but hadn’t beaten Lebanon since December of 2009.
Friday night, the Stars finally got their win. BayLee Mitchell hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining and the Stars remained unbeaten with a 58-52 win, ending Lebanon’s 31-game winning streak against Sagamore Conference opponents.
“It feels really good to finally get that win,” Western Boone head coach Rich Schelsky said. “I am really proud of our kids and our seniors, they really stepped up in crunch times and made some big plays. BayLee Mitchell hit a big shot and we just did enough to win. I think it was like a normal rivalry game. I don’t think either team played nearly their best, but somebody has to win those games and to our kids credit they gutted it out. It is a really big win.”
Lebanon head coach Beth DeVinney agreed that the Stars’ seniors made the difference in the final minutes of the game.
“Their experience was the difference,” DeVinney said. “They have a lot of seniors and our kids are young. But we are gritty and we fight. But it was their experience that won the game. The good news for us is we aren’t in mid-season form yet. This is game number eight. We are going to keep getting better and that is exciting for me. We don’t have any thing to hang our heads about, what a great game on a Friday night in Indiana to play. Western Boone played extremely hard like they always do and were able to pull it out with some great senior leadership.”
Western Boone led by seven entering the fourth quarter, but Lebanon scored the first seven points of the final frame, tying the game at 44 with 4:12 left on a put-back by Peyton Terrill.
The teams traded baskets for the next two minutes, with Western Boone’s Emily Harrison tying the game at 50 with 1:54 to go.
After a steal by Rachel Ramey We stern Boone brought the ball up the court and Mitchell hit her big 3 -pointer from the right wing.
Mitchell, who finished with a game-high 17 points, was 1-of-7 from three-point range before the make, having missed six in a row.
“BayLee is a shooter,” Schelsky said. “I think she got a little tired tonight, I couldn’t get her out very much and I think her legs were tired. But, to be a good shooter and a crunch-time shooter, you can’t think about your past misses. You have to catch the ball and shoot it in rhythm and that is what she did. That was a huge 3 and she is starting to come on for us which is really helping us out offensively.”
Lebanon missed two pointblank chances on the next possession and Harrison got the rebound and was fouled. She made 1-of-2 free throws to push the lead to four.
Brooke Montgomery cut the lead to two with a putback with 42.4 seconds left, but the Stars made 4-of-6 free throws and played strong defense down the stretch to win.
DeVinney said the Tigers will learn from the loss.
“We have played a pretty tough schedule and it is pretty unrelenting,” DeVinney said. “We see some teams that just put it on us. You have to bear down, re-establish yourself and get better. It is a learning process. Cardinal Ritter put it on us and we got better. Then Noblesville put it on us and we got better. So now we have to keep working.”
Along with Mitchell’s 17, Harrison added 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting while battling foul trouble. She added eight rebounds.
Kaitlin Miller added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Terrill led the Tigers with 16 points and added eight rebounds.
“She is a strong kid,” DeVinney said. “For her it is a maturing process. She has gotten better and better every game. That is what our young kids are going to do. They are going to keep maturing, keep working and keep getting better.”
Carly Greene added 15 points and 12 rebounds. Kristen Spolyar had 13 points, but shot 5-of-19 from the field and also battled foul trouble.
Schelsky was happy with the way the Stars defended the Tigers’ leading scorer.
“They were hard earned 13,” Schelsky said. “Kaitlin Miller defended her butt off. Our kids, when it came to Spolyar, really played out the gameplan just like we wanted. We did a great job of getting help, we did a pretty good job of keeping her in front of us and we did a good job of making her take tough shots. Kaitlin Miller, just like this team, her favorite thing to do is to guard somebody. She showed up big time tonight.”
While a big win for the Stars, who are now 8-0 for the first time since the turn of the century, Schelsky said they knew they had to put it behind them because they have a tough road contest with Hamilton Heights on Tuesday.
“We are going to enjoy this tonight, but we are going to forget about it tomorrow,” he said. “There are two teams on our schedule all four years that these seniors have been in school that we haven’t beaten. One was Lebanon, and the other is our next opponent. That is a big game for us as well. Our kids are pretty level-headed and grounded, much more than their coach — their coach gets a lot more fiery than the kids — but they will do a good job of putting it behind them. It is at their place, it is a long trip, it’s finals week; we have a lot going against us. But our kids like to win, our kids our competitors, and I look for our kids to be inspired and ready to go.”
Lebanon will also have a pretty quick turnaround.
The Tigers travel Wednesday to Class 3A No. 2 Western.
“We have Western, so we really don’t have much of a break,” DeVinney said. “They are a tremendous team too. It is going to be another tough game, but this game kind of prepared us for that. We are going to see a couple of really good guards in that game.”
Box Score Lebanon 14 9 14 15 – 52 Western Boone 12 17 15 14 -58 Lebanon (5-3) Brooke Montgomery 3-9 0-0 6, Kristen Spolyar 5-19 3-4 13, Kallee Rice 1-5 0-0 2, Carly Greene 5-14 5-10 15, Peyton Terrill 6-11 4-4 16, Mallory Cast 0-0 0-0 0, Kassidi Cadle 0-2 0-1 0. Totals: 20-60 12-19 52. Western Boone (8-0) BayLee Mitchell 7-18 1-3 17, Taylor Vanderpool 2-5 2-2 6, Emily Harrison 5-6 4-7 14, Nicole Chance 2-5 0-0 4, Kaitlin Miller 4-7 1-2 11, MacKenzie Hoffman 0-0 0-0 0, Julia Hole 1-2 0-2 2, Rachel Ramey 2-7 0-0 4.Totals: 23-50 8-16 58. 3-pointers: Lebanon 0-10 (Spolyar 0-6, Greene 0-2, Montgomery 0-2), Western Boone 4-12 (Mitchell 2-8, Miller 2-3, Ramey 0-1). Rebounds: Lebanon 33 (Greene 12, Terrill 8, Spolyar 5, Montgomery 4, Rice 2, Cadle 1, Team 1), Western Boone 44 (Chance 9, Harrison 8, Miller 7, Mitchell 6, Ramey 4, Hoffman 2, Vanderpool 2, Hole 1, Team 5). Assists: Lebanon 5 (Greene 2, Spolyar 2), Western Boone 12 (Miller 6). Turnovers: Lebanon 13, Western Boone 23. Fouls: Lebanon 18, Western Boone 15. Fouled Out: Terrill.