Dover — The Western Boone boys basketball team has had a rough first-half of the season.
But if Friday’s game against Frankfort was any indication, a better second half to the year may be in the cards. Western Boone topped Frankfort 62-54 on Friday night, earning their second win of the year and first in conference play.
“Right now it is all about pride and heart,” Western Boone head coach J.R. Howell said. “We had a great crowd tonight and our kids hustled, didn’t back down and showed a lot of pride. It was a great overall team effort to win tonight.”
Dover — The Western Boone girls basketball team continued its strong defensive streak on Friday night.
The Lady Stars held visiting Tri-West to 11 points through three quarters and cruised to a 74-23 win.
“This was a tough week for us because we played against ourselves more than anything,” Western Boone head coach Rich Schelsky said. “Tonight wasn’t a thing of beauty. We got off to a slow start, but with our defense playing as well as it is right now, we are able to get some big leads playing ugly.”
The Stars were allowing 59 points a game through their first 15 contests of the year.
But the last three, all wins, the team is shutting opponents down, allowing only 27 points a game. Part of that is the level of competition hasn’t been as strong, but Schelsky said the team is also buying into some things.
“We are extending our defense,” Schelsky said. “We are pressing a little more and our kids are getting better at it by the day. They are anticipating things and cutting off lanes. We are keeping the ball in front of us and defending the paint better. It has been big for us.”
Schelsky also said that he thinks since the turn of the year, the team is starting to realize that they don’t have much more basketball left on the schedule.
“We have been playing the last month for our three kids that will never get to experience this again,” Schelsky said. “Through all our trials and errors, we are starting to realize that as a perimeter orientated team, our shots aren’t always going to fall. When that happens, we have to be able to win with our defense.”
Western Boone led 15-2 at the end of a quarter and 33-7 at the half.
It was 58-11 after three quarters.
Olivia Hole led the Stars with 23 points in the game. Madison Jones added 14, with Tori Wilkinson scoring nine and Maggie Klingensmith adding seven.
“Olivia had a big game for us,” Schelsky said. “She got hot as the game went on. She is playing on the stretch run of her career and not only is she scoring and making some big shots for us, but she is in there battling and rebounding for us too.”
The win pushes the Lady Stars into a tough week ahead, where they hit the road for three tough games at Hamilton Heights on Tuesday, Danville on Friday and Greencastle on Saturday.
Schelsky said that while a conference and sectional opponent wait at the weekend, the Stars can’t look past Heights.
“I think it will be pretty simple not to look past them because we have only beaten them once in my tenure,” Schelsky said. “Our kids understand that the level of play increases significantly next week. We have some big games next week. It will be a tough one on Tuesday, then we have a chance to play spoiler on Friday. I think we are evenly matched with all the teams and will have to really earn wins. That’s what we want at this time of the year, it will be three games that really prepare us for the sectional.”
Friday night was Homecoming at Western Boone, leading to a large crowd for the game.
Howell said he could tell before the game that his kids were fired up.
“It was absolutely electric tonight,” Howell said. “It was our best crowd of the year and the kids recognized that. We haven’t had a lot of home games, so to see that crowd, it really lifted their spirits up. We said before the game that we wanted to put on a good show for everyone who came out. We aren’t going to out-skill or out-shoot anyone, but we showed that with hard work and effort, success can find you.”
The Stars jumped out to a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and led by nine at the half.
Howell said with a big crowd like Friday, getting off to a good start was vital.
“Any time you have a crowd like that, you want to get off to a good start,” Howell said. “Lucas (Morton) hit a 3 early and that really got us going. We were getting some stops on the other end too, which is just as important. We were playing well in our zone and anytime you can get a good start and get the crowd behind you it is big, because if you get off to a slow start and the crowd gets out of it, it is tough for them to get back in it.”
Frankfort got within 32-29 at the end of three quarters, but Western Boone played well in the fourth quarter to finish out the win.
The Stars are now 2-9 on the year, but Howell said Friday’s game could be big.
“What is done is done,” Howell said. “We are at the halfway point now and there is still a lot of basketball to be played. We didn’t get off to the start we wanted, but we have time to fix that. We aren’t going to stress on the wins and losses. We are going to stress doing the right things on the court and off it, working hard and doing everything we can to be successful.”
Marshall Hodgen led the team with 19 points. Morton added 14, while the Stars got 12 from Tom Hendrix and 11 from Peyton Young.
Howell said up and down the line-up the team got big contributions.
“Marshall played really well, handled the pressure and made some big shots for us,” Howell said. “Lucas hit some big shots, Peyton was solid throughout and handled the pressure well, and Tom was big off the bench. He really needed a big game and he hit some big shots.”
The Stars are back in action tonight at Hamilton Heights.
Howell said the team has to keep moving forward.
“We are continuing to stress the importance of getting better every day and every game,” Howell said. “We are really stressing the team coming together and playing for one another right now. We want them to remember this feeling from tonight and what it felt like to win. We have the ability to do more of that moving forward. We have another opportunity (tonight) on the road against a good team. We have to keep learning from these other games and getting better.”