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Sparkplugs spoil Lady Stars' senior night

Jan. 16—DOVER — The Western Boone girls basketball team entered Tuesday night's game with Speedway with a little momentum, having won five-straight games and improving their record to 9-10 on the season.

The Lady Stars hoped to get back to .500 for the first time since mid-November, but the visiting Sparkplugs had other ideas, and topped WeBo 42-36.

"We fought and I definitely don't question our effort tonight," Western Boone head coach Hannah Kelly said. "I think early we got some shots we wanted, we just couldn't finish at the basket and we struggled from the line. We got behind and couldn't get all the way back."

Western Boone scored the opening basket of the game, but Speedway countered with a 16-1 run, and led by 12 after a quarter while holding WeBo to 1-of-15 shooting in the quarter.

Western Boone clawed its way back in the second quarter, holding the Sparkplugs to four points and trailed by eight at the half.

Coming out in the third quarter, baskets by Emmerson Gott and Olivia Reagan, along with a 3-pointer from Ila Stokes brought the Stars within 20-19 and forced a Speedway timeout.

WeBo then got a steal and a shot for the lead, but missed and Speedway went right down and scored off the rebound to make it a 22-19 game. That basket sparked a 12-0 run where Western Boone missed 15-straight shots.

The Stars got no closer than nine the rest of the way until a final second 3-pointer.

"We cut the lead and that shows we can play with them," Kelly said. "They are a great team, but we showed in spots that we were right there, we just need it more consistently. We can't just have spurts of that."

Gott had 12 points and nine rebounds, with Ila Stokes having nine points.

Ki'erra Koch had five points and six rebounds.

Throughout the game, the Stars utilized several different line-ups, some they haven't used much at all this season.

Kelly said the last couple of weeks of the year is a good chance to clean some things up heading to the sectional.

"We have had some girls step up here at the end of the season and have some girls coming back from injury too," Kelly said. "We are trying to get them back up to speed, and hopefully find some new rotations that can spark something here at the end of the season."

Prior to the game, Western Boone honored their two seniors — Koch and Lillie Cripe.

Kelly said both have been instrumental parts of the Lady Stars program.

"(Ki'erra) and Lillie have been huge in the overall mentality of what we want this program to have," Kelly said. "They are great leaders on and off the court, and they do a great job of showing the younger girls what we expect. I have never once questioned their hard work and work ethic and they bring it every practice and every game."

Western Boone will host Danville on Friday before heading to North Montgomery next week to end the season.

Kelly said facing the 17-3 Warriors, a potential sectional opponent, will be a challenge.

"Danville always has a great program and every year they are tough for us," Kelly said. "We have to focus on cleaning up on both ends of the court. We have to finish better at the basket and at the free-throw line, and making sure we are executing be in the right positions on defense."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.