By Will Willems
It was a bit of deja vu for the Western Boone and Southmont girls basketball teams.
A little bit less than a month ago, the Stars defense smothered the Mounties in a 30-point win in the Sugar Creek Classic title game. Friday night at Western Boone, it was much of the same as the Stars jumped out to a 12-point first quarter lead and never looked back in a 72-43 win.
“We talked right before the game about getting off to a good start and imposing our will,” Western Boone head coach Rich Schelsky said. “Southmont is an improved team, but their kids are just now learning how to win. When we get into situations where we play teams like that, we have to step on them early and see how they react and not give them any confidence to start the game. We did a great job of that.”
Western Boone jumped out to a 10-0 lead just 3:30 into the game.
Southmont never got closer than eight points the rest of the game.
“We talked about the importance of coming out strong, but it is intimidating,” Southmont head coach Chloe Allen said. “A team that has started (10-0) and a team they have battled against for many years and rarely came out on the winning side — that’s intimidating. Unfortunately we did dig a big hole, but at the same time we were being aggressive and that was one thing we wanted to do. Offensively we had some great opportunities, but nothing would fall for us.”
Western Boone led by 24 at the half and by as 33 in the second half.
The Stars shot 56.9 percent in the game and had five players in double figures.
“The last two games our offense has really started to click,” Schelsky said. “Tonight, it was more constant and consistent. We got a little impatient in the first half, and that is something we are working on. Yes, we want to be a fast, up-tempo team, but at the same time we have to understand the art of reversing the basketball and getting into an offense when we don’t score quickly. I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half.”
As strong as the Stars’ offense was, their defense was just as good.
The Mounties shot 40.5 percent, but just 33.3 percent when the game was on the line.
Southmont committed 26 turnovers, 18 coming off Star steals. All nine Star players that played recorded at least one steal.
“Our kids are all committed to defending and they do a good job of listening and paying attention to the scouting report,” Schelsky said. “This is the second time we have played them they you can count on one hand how many post buckets they got — and that is where they kill people. Our kids did a good job of pressuring and with every kid getting a steal, that is a pretty good stat.”
Southmont’s dangerous tandem of Alexa McKinsey and Cali Wetli were held in check by the Stars.
The duo combined for just nine points and five rebounds.
“I think Alexa and Cali have led the stat boards and they know that,” Allen said. “We are trying to develop more of a guard game, but they just pack it in and their guards make it hard for our girls to run our offense and get the ball inside. They have five good athletes out there.”
Despite the loss, Allen said there were positives for the Mounties, who are now 6-5 and off until January 9.
“The second half we only lost by five,” Allen said. “I am pleased with my girls. Even though the scoreboard doesn’t show it we have improved and got better at a lot of things.”
Jessica Shelton led Southmont with 11 points. Kaiti Chadd added eight.
Nicole Chance, Emily Harrison and Rachel Ramey all had 14 points for Western Boone. Chance added seven rebounds.
BayLee Mitchell and Taylor Vanderpool each scored 11 for the 10-0 Stars.
Western Boone starts the Twin Lakes Tournament Friday against Taylor.
“We are going to keep working on the things we have been,” Schelsky said. “Twin Lakes is going to be a great opportunity for us, our kids are looking forward to it and it is going to be a neat time. We are going to get to play some good competition and that is why we are going up there — we want to get tested and see different teams. I’m pretty sure no one on our team knows where Taylor is so it is a good thing in that regard that we are playing teams we don’t normally see.”