Boys Varsity Basketball · Hornets hold off Stars to win 61-56

ROSSVILLE — The Western Boone boys basketball team is continuing to make progress.

Now they have to start getting the results. The Stars battled back and forth with host Rossville on Tuesday night, but fell just short of a fourth-quarter comeback in a 61-56 result.

“We need to find a way to win,” Western Boone head coach Josh Burkett said. “It’s time now. We need to practice more, that’s obvious. We are fouling too much, and we want them to be aggressive, but we have to play smart and take better shots. There are things we have to work on, we have to be more business like and I think we will be and bounce back this weekend.”

Down six at the start of the fourth quarter, Western Boone scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take a 1-point lead on a lay-up by Connor Hole.

The Stars led again at 50-49 with 4:34 to go, but Rossville used a 5-0 spurt to take the lead for good.

“We had five stops in a row, scored after three of them and got the lead,” Burkett said. “Marcus (Stepp) tried to draw a charge and it was a close call, and he took one to face and was bleeding, which really acted like a long timeout. Marcus was giving us great minutes, and we had to take him out and they took the momentum back. It’s a huge game of momentum, and they took it there late.”

The Stars got within a point on a 3-pointer by Cortez Stoudemire with 31.3 to go, but the Hornets beat the Stars press for a lay-up, and after a WeBo miss, beat the Stars’ trap for another lay-up to finish off the game.

While they weren’t able to come all the way back to get the win, Burkett said the Stars played with the heart that he wants them to play with for 32 minutes.

“It all starts on the defensive end, that’s our bread and butter, and we have to be great defensively to win games,” Burkett said. “We haven’t shot it well yet, and hopefully that starts to come around, but it’s going to start with our defense.”

The Stars got off to a good start in the first quarter, jumping out to a 13-2 lead in the opening four minutes of the game.

Rossville got within five by the end of the first quarter, and finished off an 11-1 run to take a 23-20 lead with 5:12 left in the half.

The Hornets ultimately led by a point at the intermission.

“The first quarter showed how good we can be,” Burkett said. “We want on a 10-0 run and it was like, ‘wow, this is impressive.’ All of the scoring came off our defense and our press. Rossville adjusted well later in the half, and then we struggled in the half-court. That’s an area we have to get better at.”

Neither team could get much separation in the third quarter until late, when Rossville built their six point lead.

Cortez Stoudemire led the Stars with 23 points.

Spencer Wright added 13 and Connor Hole 9.

Western Boone hosts Southmont on Friday and Fountain Central on Saturday.

“We have two days to prepare for Southmont, then we have a sectional opponent 24 hours later,” Burkett said. “It’s going to be a challenge, and we will see tomorrow how we respond, because it starts with our preparation. After that, the games are a result of how hard we worked on Wednesday and Thursday. So hopefully we bring it the next few days.”

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter and Zionsville Times Sentinel. Follow him on Twitter