By Will Willems email@example.com – Mar 3rd, 2020
DOVER – coming off one of their worst shooting games of the season, Western Boone knew they were going to have to respond to Tuesday night in the sectional opener against Fountain Central.
They did in a big way.
Behind 23 points from Cortez Stoudemire and three other players in double digits, the Stars rolled in the sectional semifinal with a 66-40 win over Fountain Central.
“It was big for us,” Western Boone head coach Josh Burkett said. “Their defense isn’t exactly the same as what Clinton Prairie does, but it is similar. We got some open shots on Friday, and just didn’t hit them. We knew playing in our own gym we would make a few more. It was good to see the ball go through the net.”
Fountain Central used a 7-0 run to take a 10-5 lead three minutes into the game, but after that, the Stars took over.
Down 12-8, the Stars went on a 16-0 run, getting eight points from Stoudemire and five from Hole in the run, to go up 24-12 and never looked back.
“They handled our press really well early,” Burkett said. “That is a testament to their team and coach Shabi, because they didn’t handle it very well the first time we played. We fell back, and we take pride in our half-court defense. I thought after those first couple of minutes, we played excellent the rest of the game.”
The Stars led by 14 at the half, and after the Mustangs got within 12 at 38-26 midway through the third quarter, Western Boone put the game away for good with a 10-2 run, getting scoring from four different players.
The lead was as many as 28 in the fourth quarter.
Burkett said it was the Stars defense that was the most impressive in the second half.
“Our full focus has been on defense,” Burkett said. “Teams like Clinton Prairie do a really good job of not paying attention to the scoreboard. Whatever the score is, they play the same way. Sometimes earlier this year, we would have taken our foot off the gas pedal and given up on the defensive end. Tonight, we did a good job of staying engaged the entire game. We told them not to worry about the score, just play our game he best we can.”
Jonathan McAtee and Connor Hole had 11 each for the Stars, while Spencer Wright had 10.
The win advances the Stars to Friday night, where they will face Clinton Prairie in the second game of the night, tipping at approximately 7:30 p.m.
The two teams met last Friday, with the Gophers winning 59-43.
The first semifinal will be Rossville and Seeger.
“We have to make shots, and we can’t give them second chance opportunities,” Burkett said. “They had 10 offensive rebounds last Friday, and I think every single time they scored off it. We are going to watch that film tomorrow, we have put that off hoping we would ge the chance to play them again. We will take some of the things we did well in the first half, where we played pretty well, then adjust on the things that didn’t go well in the second half.”
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter and Zionsville Times Sentinel. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.