Greencastle — For the third-time this week, the Western Boone Lady Stars needed overtime to decide their game on Saturday night at Greencastle.
And despite tired legs and their second overtime game in two days, the visiting Stars made all the big plays down the stretch in a 72-63 victory over the Tiger Cubs.
The two teams will meet again in a week and a half in the sectional opener. Western Boone head coach Rich Schelsky said Saturday’s game was important for that reason.
“We didn’t want to come here and lay an egg against them,” Schelsky said. “It was good that it was a close game because it has our kids’ attention that we have to show up ready to go on Feb. 1, or we are in serious trouble. We knew when the draw came out that we had the toughest draw, and tonight proved that. You have to tip your hat to Greencastle. They got hammered last night by a good Cascade team and they came back and played tremendously tonight. We have a lot of things to work on between now and the sectional.”
It is never easy to play a team and then have to turn around and play them a week later in the sectional.
Schelsky said the Stars didn’t really hold anything back on Saturday, but used the game more to find out places they needed to improve in the next 11 days.
“It is hard, but it always been my philosophy to try and win the first game,” Schelsky said. “You run your stuff and just adjust off of that. We aren’t going to come up with anything magical between now and then. The big thing for us is watching this film and getting better. They did some things to us tonight in our 2-3 zone that buried us in the post and we have to clean that up. They got a lot of wide open 3-point looks against our 1-3-1 and we have to clean that up too. To me, it is do what you do, adjust over the next 11 days and hopefully be better at it in the sectional.”
Greencastle led 13-10 after a quarter and 29-28 at the half.
Western Boone came back to take a 48-44 lead after three, but the game was tied 55-55 with 2:54 to play.
Greencastle took a 57-55 lead on two free throws by Rose White, but Madison Jones matched them to tie the score at 57 with 1:53 to go.
After a missed 3-pointer by Greencastle and a turnover by Western Boone, the Tiger Cubs took a 59-57 lead with 40 seconds left on a putback by Nailah Ray. Tori Wilkinson tied the game for Western Boone 12 seconds later, but Greencastle was able to set up a potential game-winning shot.
They got the ball to Ray at the top of the key, but her shot was off the mark and the Stars got some momentum from a defensive stop heading into overtime.
“I think you have a little bit of advantage after that, but I say that after we got a stop at the end of regulation last night and lost to Danville,” Schelsky said. “I think anytime you can do something positive right before an overtime it is always good.”
The Stars dominated the overtime.
Wilkinson scored on an assist from Olivia Hole 15 seconds into the extra period, and after a Greencastle miss, Alayna Raby hit a jumper to put the Stars up four.
Wilkinson made it 65-59 after another Greencastle miss, and the Tiger Cubs never got closer than four from there. Western Boone scored 13 points on eight offensive possessions in overtime.
“Getting a bucket right away which always helps,” Schelsky said. “Once we were able to get the lead to four, and we were able to spread the court, we were in good shape. Making them come out and guard us was big. Let’s face it, not many teams have someone who can guard Madison (Jones) from 40-feet out. When we can force teams to do that, it helps not only her, but the other kids because they are going to be open. We found the open man and hit lay-ups in the overtime period, which is what good teams have to do.”
Jones led the way with 24 points, while Hole had 15.
Raby had 10, while Wilkinson and Maddie Wright each added eight points.
The Stars host Southmont on Friday in the regular season finale.
“I was happy we shot it a little better tonight,” Schelsky said. “Obviously going forward in the next week, we are going to get a lot of shots up. We are going to have to shoot well to win the sectional. We have to get our shots in. We aren’t going to go that hard next week. This was a tough week, three road games and three overtime games. We have senior night on Friday and our three seniors deserve to go out as winners. That is going to be the focus next week.