Lebanon Reporter

January 25, 2014

Stars overcome emotions to top Warriors

By Will Willems Sports Editor
Lebanon Reporter

---- — This win meant more to the Western Boone boys' basketball team.

Not only was it winter homecoming, but it was the Stars' Coaches vs. Cancer game. That cause was even more important for the Stars this year as Jaclyn Smith, daughter of assistant coach Willie Smith and sister of team member Jason, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma earlier this week.

The Stars played one of their best games of the year with that on their minds Friday, with two Braxton Porter free throws with 12.4 seconds left sealing a 60-58 win over 13th-ranked Danville.

"It was unbelievable," an emotional Western Boone head coach Scott McClelland said after the game. "It was a huge game and we talked to the boys about how sometimes we play for a bigger cause. And I felt like that was one of those games. Obviously it was homecoming, but we are talking about cancer research and funding for that and we have all been affected one way or another by that terrible disease. To win the way they did, when they have a teammate and coach who just had a family member diagnosed, I am just really happy for our whole group of kids and coaches."

McClelland presented Willie Smith with the game ball in the locker room following the win.

The coach went on to praise his team for battling throughout the game, overcoming a six-point second-half deficit.

"I am just ecstatic for our our kids," McClelland said. "The resiliency and the no-quit attitude they showed, and just sticking together, they showed true grit and toughness and it was just unbelievable. Guys just made plays again. JT (Whitaker) was big, Braxton hit huge shots; Austin Burtner had a tough week, he lost his grandfather, and for him to come in and hit a big shots was big, Kaleb McCloskey came in and played hard, Riggs (Baxter) had a couple of huge plays, and Nathanial Bye had a big shot in the first half. I can talk about each one of them making plays when they needed too. It was a huge win. You don't beat Danville very often. It was a big conference win, a shot in the arm."

The Stars led by four at the end of a quarter and six at the half.

They led by five early in the third quarter when Danville went on an 11-0 run to take a 38-32 lead. The Stars fought back though, with 3-pointers from Burtner and Porter late in the third quarter bringing the Stars to within 44-43 heading into the final frame.

For more of this story, read Saturday's Lebanon Reporter.