By Will Willems
LEBANON — Less than two weeks ago, the Western Boone Lady Stars traveled to Greencastle and had to gut out an overtime win over the Tiger Cubs.
When the two teams met again Wednesday in the sectional, it was nothing like the first meeting. Western Boone grabbed control early, then put the game away with a big run in the second and third quarters to beat Greencastle 60-41.
“I think both teams were a little tight to start out, and I thought we handled it a little better than they did,” Western Boone head coach Rich Schelsky said. “Us getting out to a big lead was huge. I think for the most part we defended them the way we wanted to and that was a key as well.”
Western Boone led just 3-1 through the first four minutes of the game, but started to pour it on as the first quarter came to a close.
A 10-1 run over the final 3:59 of the quarter gave the Stars a 13-2 lead and forced Greencastle out of their comfort zone and away from their two, talented posts — Claire Gillen and Nailah Ray.
“We said all day that getting off to a good start was key for us,” Schelsky said. “If we did that, we could dictate the way we defended the rest of the game. Giving up that size, you want to get ahead so you kind of force their hand to shoot from the outside and not pound the post. That was a big key.”
Greencastle made one run to get back into it.
Down 15-4, the Tiger Cubs scored the next seven points to get back within four on a basket by Gillen.
But Kara Brewer hit two 3-pointers and Callie Gubera scored on a possession kept alive by an offensive rebound by Tori Wilkinson during an 8-0 run that gave Western Boone a 10-point lead at the half.
Two freshmen, Brewer and Wilkinson were playing in their first sectional games.
“They did some big things and they have done some big things for us,” Schelsky said. “Ever since we moved them up, they have made a big difference with this group. We aren’t a one-man show and we have to rely on everyone. When their time came and they had to step up and make a shot or make play, they did it. They may be freshmen by grade, but they have played a lot of varsity basketball and I think they are a little more seasoned than a lot of freshmen.”
While it was the freshmen that were big at the end of the first half, it was the Western Boone seniors that put the game away in the third quarter.
After Greencastle scored to make it 23-15, Gubera scored six-straight points to make it 29-15.
The Tiger Cubs’ Marin Nally hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 12, but then Olivia Hole scored all 12 points in a 12-2 run to give Western Boone a 42-20 lead with 1:38 left in the third. Hole finished with 17 points and made four 3-pointers.
“Callie played very strong and like a senior to start the second half, and did a good job of scoring around the paint,” Schelsky said. “And when Liv gets hot and gets going she can make a bunch in a row. It was good to see her get going tonight. That is what seniors have to do. They have led us all year, and hopefully they can lead us for a bunch more games.”
Greencastle never got closer than 15 in the final quarter.
Madison Jones had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Western Boone.
Gubera added eight points, Alayna Raby had seven and Brewer had six.
Next up for the Stars is a match-up with rival Lebanon at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Lebanon won the regular season meeting 64-52.
“In my opinion, that game is as much mental as it is physical,” Schelsky said.
“We have to show up here believing that we can win and can’t be intimidated by the atmosphere. We can’t psyche ourselves up. Most likely we have a chance this weekend to avenge two of our losses. Those two weekends were probably the low point of our season and we get a chance to show far we have come from December until now. That is what I am excited for and I think our kids are too. It isn’t going to be easy, and we are going to have to play a really good game, but we are going to give it our best effort.”
Greencastle 2 11 11 17 -41
Western Boone 13 10 19 18 -60
Rose White 0-0 0-0 0, Bailey Shuee 0-3 2-4 2, Jalyn Duff 2-7 1-5 7, Grace Smith 3-12 0-0 8, Claire Gillen 3-8 3-6 9, Seelye Stoffregen 0-4 2-2 2, Layna Robinson 0-1 0-0 0, Marin Nally 1-7 0-0 3, Allison Stevens 0-0 0-0 0, Nailah Ray 4-9 2-2 10. Totals: 13-51 10-19 41.
Madison Jones 8-14 2-3 20, Alayna Raby 3-4 1-2 7, Madison Wright 0-1 0-2 0, Olivia Hole 6-13 1-1 17, Callie Gubera 4-10 0-1 8, Tesla Burns 0-0 0-0 0, Kara Brewer 2-4 0-0 6, Hillary Reed 0-0 0-0 0, Olivia Randolph 0-0 0-0 0, Tori Wilkinson 1-1 0-0 2, Lauryn Florey 0-0 0-0 0, Maggie Klingensmith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-47 4-9 60.
3-pointers: Greencastle 5-27 (Smith 2-8, Duff 2-7, Nally 1-6, Shuee 0-3, Stoffregen 0-2, Robinson 0-1), Western Boone 8-20 (Hole 4-10, Jones 2-6, Brewer 2-4).