By Will Willems
Westfield — For the first 8:52 of game time Tuesday night, the Western Boone boys basketball team was in a good position against Westfield.
The Stars trailed just 8-6, were playing at the tempo they wanted and were getting good looks at the basket. The last 7:08 was a different story.
Host Westfield out-scored Western Boone 24-0 to close the first half and went on to top the Stars 57-34.
“The first quarter is right where we wanted to be,” Western Boone head coach J.R. Howell said. “It was 8-3 at the end of the first and the game was going in our favor I thought. The second quarter was obviously the turning point. We allowed them to do whatever they wanted offensively and we took some quick shots. When we did have good offensive possessions, we missed lay-ups or good shots. We still have a lot of work to do, but we will learn from this and hopefully it prepares us for sectionals.
Western Boone trailed 8-3 at the quarter, with a Lucas Morton 3-pointer being the only points for the Stars. Tom Hendrix then hit a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the second quarter, and the Stars were within 8-6.
But then it went downhill fast.
The Stars didn’t score over the final 7:46 of the quarter, while Westfield hit five 3-pointers in their run, including three from Aaron Bennett, to build a 32-6 halftime lead.
“We weren’t recognizing their shooters,” Howell said. “We talked about it all week, about Bennett being able to shoot. He hit three 3s in a row, and we didn’t have the awareness to crowd him as a shooter. We allowed a couple of lobs that are just silly plays that we have to defend better. We still have a lot of learning to do. The bottom line is, Westfield is probably one of the best teams we played all year and we have a lot to learn from this game.”
The Stars did play better in the second half, they were just unable to sustain a comeback.
WeBo went on a 7-2 run to start the third quarter, and had an 14-4 run in the fourth quarter, but they could never get closer than 21 in the second half.
Howell said the big thing for the Stars was just focusing on what they could control in the final 16 minutes.
“We wanted to see progress, heart and pride,” Howell said. “I thought we saw that. We did a pretty good job of battling and toughing it out. But when you give a team a 25-point lead, especially one that is deliberate and takes care of the ball like Westfield does, it is tough to make one of those miracle comebacks. We put ourselves in a bad hole, but we did a good job of playing them even in the second half. It was just getting down too much, too early.”
Hendrix led the Stars with nine points, while Duncan Reed added six.
No other WeBo player had more than four.
The Stars travel to play Cascade (12-8) on Friday night, before hosting Sheridan (9-11) on Saturday.
Western Boone has won seven in a row against the Cadets.
“We have to be ready to play,” Howell said. “They are playing very well this year and have three guys averaging double figures and we have to be aware of them. When it gets down to this time of the season, we don’t have time to lick our wounds. We have to get back in the gym and get after the next opponent. Hopefully we can turn it around this weekend and get a couple wins heading into the sectional.”