Zionsville tops Western Boone in non-conference action
By Will Willems
The Eagles won the opening tip, and Isaiah Thompson pushed the ball up and found a streaking Nathan Childress for a two-handed jam.
That led to a 7-0 spurt in the first 53 seconds for the Eagles, who never looked back in a 80-42 win over the Stars.
“They are a great team and they have a lot of great pieces,” Western Boone head coach Bronson Lickliter said. “It is really to guard all of them. Start of the game, I thought we were about to get the tip, they pull it out of our hands, two passes and they get a dunk. They had us reeling a little bit, but I thought we played pretty well into the second quarter, then they went on a little run.”
Childress was a key factor in the Eagles first quarter, scoring six of his 10 points in the frame and creating problems for the Stars on the other end of the quarter.
The Bethel signee has been in double figures in every game for the Eagles this year.
“Getting back on the winning track was what we really needed today, and being more fundamentally strong,” Zionsville head coach Shaun Busick said. “I really liked Nathan Childress’ start and his intensity. He had six deflections in the first half and did a really nice job up top on the zone.”
Western Boone hung around for most of the first half.
The Eagles led by 11 at the first intermission, and led 31-21 with less than four minutes to go in the half after a basket by Spencer Wright.
But Zionsville scored the final 12 points of the first half, getting five from Thompson, and took a 43-21 lead into the break.
“They did what they what we talk about doing – score, stop scores,” Lickliter said. “They were knocking down shots, then we would get an open look and couldn’t hit, then they would get the rebound and come down and hit another shot. It was a bit deflating going into halftime.”
The third quarter was the Brandon Vernon show for Zionsville.
The transfer from Pike hit four 3-pointers in the third period, and Zionsville led 65-31 after three quarters.
“He can shoot 3s, but with him not only do you have to guard him from the line, but you have to guard him from 30 feet, because he has unlimited range,” Busick said. “He is really strong too. He has the ability to go inside too. He has a lot of experience, he is a four-year varsity player including his time at Pike. Probably the most important thing he brings to us is a passion for the game, and a real love for his teammates. The guys like him a lot and he has adapted well.”
Adam Pratt led the Stars with nine points, who also got eight from Lucas Morton and Wright.
“Tonight there were moments where we were more aggressive on the offensive end, and we took some things from them, rather than letting them dictate things,” Lickliter said. “We were aggressive driving the lanes, and then we were looking to kick out. We got a lot of good inside-out looks.”
Western Boone will look for its first win of the season Friday night against Southmont.
The girls game will be at 6 p.m. with the boys game to follow.
“We are just taking it one game at a time and no one game is bigger than another,” Lickliter said. “We have a couple of road games this weekend, so we have to continue to prepare the right way to have our guys ready mentally and physically.”
Thompson led the Eagles with 22 points.
Vernon had 15 on five 3-pointers, and Childress had 10. Ben Alcock had eight points.
Zionsville is back in action Friday night on the road at Franklin Central.
“They have a young team and they are playing better every game,” Busick said. “We are going to have our hands full, especially on the road. We have a lot of work to do between now and Friday. We have played some really tough competition so far, and coach Lickliter’s kids did a nice job of adjusting and really attacking the zone well. They forced us to do some things differently and showed us some things we haven’t seen this year.”