New Market — The Western Boone Lady Stars continued their impressive streak at the Sugar Creek Classic on Saturday night at Southmont.
WeBo won the title with a 73-58 win over the host Mounties, the eighth-straight year the Stars have brought home the trophy.
Western Boone head coach Rich Schelsky was pleased with how the team overcame some adversity in the championship game to win.
“It’s big for our girls,” Schelsky said. “You would prefer every game that you just click and you can win big, but you really need to have some tests and see some adversity. We saw everything tonight that we needed to see. We got in foul trouble, we played a team that packed it on us and we saw a lot of things we hadn’t seen yet. At the end of the day, we battled through that adversity and had a great offensive second half.”
Western Boone never trailed in the game.
After leading by six at the end of a quarter, Western Boone led 20-13 with 6:03 left in the game and saw Sugar Creek Classic MVP Madison Jones go to the bench with three fouls 4:29 left in the half.
The Mounties cut the lead to 20-19 and had numerous possessions to take the lead, but the Stars’ defense rose to the occasion. The Stars offense ended a four-minute scoring drought to create some distance and a 3-pointer by Olivia Hole at the first-half buzzer gave the Stars’ a 5-point lead at the break.
“When (Jones) went out, I told the girls that we needed to make a run right there,” Southmont head coach Dustin Oakley said. “We did so-so, but we just couldn’t get over that hump of taking the lead and that hurt. We didn’t want to give up that last opportunity there, and that was a big shot for them.”
Western Boone grabbed a firmer control on the game in the third quarter.
The Stars got baskets from Kendra Nicley, Maddie Wright, Hole (3-pointer) and Jones in a 9-2 run to take a 38-26 with 5:40 left in the third quarter.
The lead grew as high as 15 before a mini-Southmont run got them within eight at the end of the third.
Western Boone was shooting better than 50 percent for most of the third quarter before missing their final three shots.
“We calmed down and executed on offense,” Schelsky said. “We didn’t settle for the first three that we got and got the ball into the high-post and short-corner, and got some ball reversals. When you do that offensively and the other team zones you, there are openings there.”
Southmont hung around in the fourth quarter, but could never threaten the Stars.
Leading by eight points with 2:58 to go, Western Boone went on 10-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Oakley said the Stars’ offense was too good for the Mounties on Saturday.
His team came into the game allowing just 39.2 points a game and had only allowed in the 50s twice.
“It is all about our defense,” Oakley said. “There is no way we can give up 73 points and win. If we score more than 50 points, we should be able to win. But credit to WeBo, we wanted them to shoot from the outside and they hit them. We will adjust and see how we do against them on the 16th of December.”
Western Boone placed two girls on the All-Tournament team — Jones and Hole.
Jones scored 17 points on Saturday and averaged 15.5 points in the tournament.
Schelsky said Saturday’s game was good for Jones and having to learn how she has to play with foul trouble.
“There is no doubt her importance to our team in a lot of areas,” Schelsky said. “That is for the good and the bad. I think when we started the game a little slow, I think she started slow too. When she gets going, we are pretty good. It was a good learning experience for her. Seeing this adversity, nothing but good can come from it moving forward.”
Hole scored 16 points, including 12 in the second half. She added a team-high 8 rebounds.
Schelsky said Hole was deserving, but noted she wasn’t the only one. Nicley co-led the team in scoring with 17 on Saturday and Wright added 11. Callie Gubera scored nine points.
“She hit a lot of big 3s for us today,” Schelsky said of Hole. “I will say too, in my personal opinion and it is skewed, but I think all five of our starters should have been on all-tournament team. I won’t beat around the bush on that one. But Liv hit some really big 3s tonight. She struggled a little bit out of the gate getting started, but in the second half she hit some big ones and calmed down and played like a senior. She has been through a lot of battles and a lot of wars and I am proud of her.”
Southmont was represented on the all-tournament team by Kasey Burton, who scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down 17 rebounds before fouling out.
Schelsky said after the game that he was impressed with Burton.
“I told her after the game that she could play for me any day,” Schelsky said. “I love that kid’s fire, passion and aggressiveness. For an undersized ‘4’, she was the most dominant rebounder in the game, and I am going to go out on a limb and say in the conference too. She was tremendous and we really struggled to keep her off the glass. She has that special knack of finding the ball and has great tenacity.”
Case added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Avery Hess had 11 points and four rebounds.
Western Boone travels to Westfield on Tuesday.
Schelsky said the Stars have to learn from the past week’s games.
“We have to come and compete,” Schelsky said. “When we come out focused and we want to compete like we did (in the semifinals), then we can compete with anybody. When we don’t come to compete defensively, we are going to let a lot of people hang around. We weren’t as locked in tonight defensively, and you have to give Southmont credit for that, but it all starts on the defensive end. When we go play these big schools on our schedule, we have to learn from (the Plainfield game) and we have to bring our lunch pails and be ready to compete, or they are going to knock you in the nose as many times as they can. Hopefully we learn from last Tuesday and we are ready to play.”