Dover — The season opener didn’t go as planned for the Western Boone girls basketball team on Tuesday night.
After sticking with Lafayette Jeff in the first half, the visiting Bronchos out-scored the Stars by 15 in the third quarter en route to an 83-55 final.
“Rebounding I think was the biggest key,” Western Boone head coach Megan Alexander said. “At halftime, they only had three offensive rebounds and we were out-sized everywhere. In the second half, they made a little tweak in their offense, and took away some of our help-side defense. We still aren’t quite in game shape yet, and I think we got a little tired in the second half because we are trying to push the tempo a little more. It will take us a little bit to get there.”
Lafayette Jeff shot well in the first half, making 14 of 27 shots, but used their size to their advantage in the third quarter.
After a basket by Madison Jones made it 42-36, the Bronchos went on a 14-2 run to take an 18-point lead and Western Boone couldn’t get back in the game.
The visitors shot 12 of 22 in the quarter, with their three post players shooting 11 of 14 from the field, effectively using their high-low offense.
“It is something we are going to see again,” Alexander said. “Lebanon especially have two good posts and they will probably use it. It is nice to get it on film, because it gives us something to work on and improve on. Early in the season, we have some inexperience and we have some girls in the post that have never guarded a varsity post before. It is a learning experience. The scoreboard, at this point of the season, I’m not focused on as much, as long as we get better.”
The Stars were able to do some good things in the first half.
After Lafayette Jeff took a 9-1 lead, the Stars went on an 8-0 run to tie the game on two Hillary Reed free throws. They trailed by six at the end of the quarter, but fought their way back to with 31-29 after back-to-back baskets by Jones and Kara Brewer.
The Bronchos ultimately led by five at the half, before the big third quarter run put the game away.
“It was good to just get out on the court and get underway,” Alexander said. “We have ‘Blue Crew’ group that comes in and practices with us and we beat up each other in practice, but nothing is better than coming out against another opponent in a game that matters. This is going to be the best experience that we can get. We want to make sure that we get better and we are improving every day.”
Jones led the Stars with 30 points on 11 of 22 shooting.
Alexander said the big thing for Jones will be adjusting to some of the younger, inexperienced players and trying not to do too much. Jones picked her third foul early in the third quarter, and was forced to the bench as the Bronchos started their run.
“She is learning to play within this team,” Alexander said. “Sometimes she takes it upon herself to try to take over the games, which I appreciate, but it can get her in foul trouble when she feels like she has to gamble for a steal or take the bigger role. As this team plays more together, she is going to see she doesn’t have to overcompensate as much.”
Brewer chipped in 13 points, while Lauryn Florey had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The nine points matched Florey’s total all of last season.
“I expect a lot out of Lauryn,” Alexander said. “She was my rock last year on the JV. I put a lot of responsibility on her shoulder, and I believe she is fully capable of being our No. 2 or No. 3 scorer. She is a scrappy player and has a lot of athleticism. I am happy with what she has done, but I expect even more from her.”
The Stars are back in action on Saturday night on the road at Lawrence Central.
Alexander said the biggest thing the Stars have to improve on is taking care of the ball. Western Boone had 19 turnovers on Tuesday night.
“That is what we are harping on in practice, but all across the board everyone is turning the ball over quite a bit,” Alexander said. “We are trying to make a home-run pass every pass, and that can work in practice, but when you get to the varsity game, it isn’t there. That is going to be a big thing for us moving forward.”
The JV game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday with the varsity to follow.