Dec 15, 2018
Veedersburg — Spencer Wright chose a perfect time to hit his first 3-pointer of the season.
The Western Boone junior had missed his first five attempts of the season, but when the opportunity came to him in the dying seconds Saturday night at Fountain Central, he didn’t hesitate and his 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left pushed Western Boone out in front in a 55-54 win.
“I was actually supposed to go around for a lob, but coach said if it wasn’t open to bounce back out and hit a 3,” Wright said. “It was a little deeper than I thought it was going to be, so I was a little nervous when I shot it, but it went in.”
Lickliter praised Wright for his ability to be calm in the moment.
“Players win games, he stepped up tonight and knocked that down,” Lickliter said. “That was his first three of the year, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.”
Western Boone led 50-45 after two Cortez Stoudemire free throws with 3:09 to play.
But the Stars missed their next five shots and the front-end of a 1-and-1 as Fountain Central tied the game at 50 with 1:21 to go.
Stoudemire hit two free throws with 44.3 seconds left to put the Stars up two, but the Mustangs’ Nathaniel Butts gave his team the lead with a three-point play with 30.9 seconds to go.
Things looked bleak for Western Boone when they turned it over on its next possession, but after Fountain Central’s Andrew Shabi split a pair of free throws, Wright was able to hit his game winner.
“The resiliency is what was so great about our guys tonight,” Lickliter said. “There were a couple of flaws I had coaching where I could have called a timeout, but I kept thinking about how our guys were playing hard, they were playing through those things and I trust them. We ran a play we have never run before and they executed it because that is the kind of guys we have.”
Wright said a win like Saturday could help the Stars throughout the season.
“Close games bring you closer together,” Wright said. “We are learning to play with each other, and if we get in a close game down the road this will help us finish.”
Fountain Central started 8 of 11 from the field in the first half and led by six at the end of the first quarter and 30-22 at the half.
The Mustangs led by 10 early in the third quarter, but a 10-3 run by the Stars got them within two heading to the fourth.
The Mustangs made just four field goals in the second half.
“We were sagging in and helping on (Butts) and (Aaron Barnett) because they are drivers,” Lickliter said. “They got some inside-out looks off of that and hit some shots. We wanted to be in the gaps a little more and just be more solid in the second half.”
Wright led Western Boone with 17 points.
Peyton Young added 10, while Morton had eight and Pat Shallenberger had seven.
Western Boone is back in action next Friday on the road at Clinton Central.
“When you can face down adversity like tonight, stay the course and trust the system and process, it is going to help you,” Lickliter said. “Our guys do a great job of that. They go out and perform, and do so as a team. To have the perseverance to come back and make some plays at the end is great to see, and is going to be beneficial. They say learn from your mistakes, but if you can learn from victories that is always a positive.”