Western Boone needed a big play.
Trailing by two with 21.4 seconds left, the Stars had just taken their final timeout — and second of the possession. And when the play they were originally looking for wasn't there, their players improvised.
Riggs Baxter passed out of a triple-team to an open Kaleb McCloskey on the wing, who drilled a 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left to send Western Boone home victorious, 67-66 over Speedway.
"It was a thrilling win for us," Western Boone head coach Scott McClelland said. "The resiliency of this group has to be commended. The sheer toughness of making plays when they need to, and we are getting them from different guys. It is a real credit to the kids. Everybody is so positive with each other and it really says a lot about our kids and their togetherness. I am really, really excited and proud for our young men tonight."
Western Boone trailed by nine with 5:25 to go. They got within one on a three-point play by Baxter with 2:36 remaining.
After a basket by Speedway's Anthony Jones and two free throws by WeBo's Marshall Hodgen, Jones split two free throws with 1:22 remaining to give the Sparkplugs a 66-64 lead.
Western Boone turned it over on their next possession, but Chris Valentine missed a contested lay-up on the fast break to give the ball back to WeBo.
McCloskey missed a lay-up of his own with 52.7 seconds left, but Baxter tied up a Speedway player on the rebound and the ball stayed in the Stars' possession.
WeBo was forced to take a timeout 38.7 seconds left and again with 21.4 left when they didn't like the defense they saw.
With no timeouts left, the ball found its way to Baxter on the left block and he was instantly triple teamed. He kicked to McCloskey (20 points, 11 rebounds) who nailed the shot.
"They went zone and we were off-balance so we had to call a timeout to set something up," McClelland said. "We put Kaleb on one side and Riggs on the other, thinking that would spread them out and Kaleb would get a 3 in the corner or Riggs would have a chance to score in the post. It says a lot about Riggs Baxter that he scores 32 points tonight, gets triple-teamed and he doesn't force it. He kicks it out and Kaleb hits the game-winner. Kaleb made a heck of a play. This was a big-time win against a very athletic team."
For more of this story, read Friday's Lebanon Reporter.