Lebanon — The Western Boone boys basketball team struggled to find their shot early in their Sectional 25 opener against Greencastle.
In the end, that is what hurt the Stars, as they dug too big of a hole to escape from in a 43-20 loss to the Tiger Cubs.
“They came out and shot 55 percent and we shot 20 percent in the first half,” Western Boone head coach Bronson Lickliter said. “When that happens you expect to be down a little big at halftime. Hats off to Greencastle, they know what their bread and butter is, and we didn’t do a great job of stopping (Colin) York.”
Greencastle led 7-6 with 5:00 left in the first quarter, but then things started to go south for the Stars.
Western Boone went scoreless for the next 5:32, allowing the Tiger Cubs to take a 21-6 lead after a quarter.
“I was happy with the shots we were getting, they just weren’t falling,” Lickliter said. “We got good shots and got them out of our offense. We had some driving opportunities and we had drive-and-kick opportunities, we just couldn’t get them to go down tonight. I thought our offense was run pretty well, we just didn’t finish it off.”
The other big problem for the Stars was containing York.
The senior guard scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the first half, helping his team to a 29-15 halftime advantage.
“They will run 40 seconds off the clock to make sure he gets a good look,” Lickliter said. “They really understand how to get him open looks. He does a really nice job, and he is quick enough and smart enough to get himself open. Then the players around him deliver it to his outside hand almost every time away from the defense.”
When York wasn’t hurting the Stars, other Tiger Cubs were.
Western Boone managed just five points in the third quarter, as Greencastle built a 23-point lead. The Stars limited York to two points in the quarter, and just a 3-pointer in the fourth, but the Tiger Cubs still scored 39 points.
“They have other talented kids,” Lickliter said. “If (Benton Parmley) gets any daylight, he can knock down a 3. And we didn’t help off of him, but that creates opportunities for York and other guys. Brody Whitaker does a little bit of everything for them, and Gavin Bollman can hurt you inside too.”
Lucas Morton led the Stars with 15 points.
Peyton Young added 14 and Spencer Wright had eight for the Stars, who finish the year 7-16.
All but one of the Stars will return, including their entire starting five.
“These are kids that come to work hard every day,” Lickliter said. “They work hard and really try to do everything we ask of them. We came in this year with a little bit different offensive and defensive philosophy and they were able to pick up on it, even if it wasn’t as quickly as everyone would have liked. In the end, it is a process and in this game it is a marathon, not a sprint and the nice thing is we have all our runners back but one.”
The one senior they do lose is Duncan Reed.
While he might not show up much in the stat sheet, Lickliter said he is important to what they are building at Western Boone.
“In 12 years of coaching high school basketball, I have never met a kid quite like Duncan Reed,” Lickliter said. “He is unselfish enough, to be a senior and you never hear a peep from him about playing time or anything like that. He comes to practice with a positive attitude, he works hard and keeps things lively in the locker room and on the court during practice. He is a keystone to the type of program we are building at Western Boone.”
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.