Western Boone jumped out to a double-digit first quarter lead, and held on for a 59-54 win over Crawfordsville to pry the paddle away from the Athenians and claim the 14th Annual Boys’ Sugar Creek Classic.
“They just wanted it,” first-year Stars coach Josh Burkett said. “We’ve got a senior leaden team. We weren’t fancy, and we didn’t play extremely well in either game this weekend, but what we did have was grit and just full effort and full heart, and they had confidence in each other.”
Spencer Wright was once again the hero for Western Boone — leading the Stars with 19 points — to earn tournament MVP honors.
The Stars used a 16-2 rebounding advantage to take a 14-6 lead after a quarter, and took a 27-22 lead into the half, before the Athenians were able to gather themselves.
“I thought we got off to a bad start,” Athenians coach David Pierce said. “We were taking poor shots, and we were missing easy shots. Give WeBo credit, they shot the ball really well, and we didn’t.”
Jesse Hall led a Crawfordsville comeback in the third quarter with eight of his game-high 20 points. The junior tied the game at 33 with a lay-up, before Wright answered — only to see Hall bury a 3-pointer to give the Athenians their first lead at the 4:00 mark in the third period at 36-35 — but Wright came right back down and nailed a triple for the Stars (4-4).
“When the lights are turned on and the game is going on, I know I’m going to get something from him.” Burkett said about Wright. “That Jesse Hall kid is a very good player, and he’s a lot taller than Spencer is, but Spencer wasn’t going to back down from that, and he’s going to step up to that challenge.”
Hall gave the Athenians the lead back at 50-49 with 2:53 to play, but Cortez Stoudemire scored seven straight points for the Stars, and Western Boone forced a pair of Athenian turnovers in th final minute to seal the championship win.
“We’ve got certain guys that we rely on offensively that just are more efficient,” Pierce said. “And when the pressure is on and it’s a close game, we can’t allow the pressure to force us to do something that isn’t efficient. And that just comes with experience.”
The Athenians had just six turnovers in the loss, but two came on their final pair of possessions. Crawfordsville connected on just 19-of-50 shots, while Western Boone was 19-of-42 and knocked down 10-of-17 from outside the arc.
Jake Jones joined Wright on the all-tournament team with a 13-point effort for the Stars. Ty Lynas had seven for the Athenians to join Hall on the tourney team. Karsten Williamson scored 15.
Western Boone has won four of its last five and travels to Frankfort on Friday. Crawfordsville will travel to Victory Prep on Saturday.
“We’ve got some really good teams we’ve got to get ready for,” Pierce said. “And we’ve got to bounce back."
Western Boone 59, Crawfordsville 54
WB 14 13 15 12 — 59
CHS 6 16 15 17 — 54
WB (4-4): Cortez Stoudemire 2-6 3-4 8, Jonathan McAtee 3-6 1-2 9, Marcus Stepp 1-1 0-1 2, Caleb Henry 0-1 0-0 0, Caleb Freeman 1-3 0-1 2, Spencer Wright 6-15 4-4 19, Conner Hole 1-1 1-2 4, Jake Jones 5-8 0-1 13; Totals 19-42 11-18 59.
CHS (6-4): Ty Lynas 2-8 2-2 7, Carson Scott 0 0-0 0, Karsten Williamson 4-10 7-9 15, Ziair Morgan 1-4 0-0 2, Jesse Hall 7-14 3-4 20, Cole Watt 0 0-1 0, Nate Schroeter 2-5 0-0 4, Ian Hensley 2-6 4, Mekhi Wallace 1-3 0-0 2; Totals 19-50 12-16 54.
3-Point Shooting: WB 10-17 (Wright 3, Jones 3, McAtee 2, Hole, Stoudemire), CHS 4-17 (Hall 3, Lynas).
Rebounds: WB 35, CHS 28