DOVER — A Sagamore Conference double-header was on tap Friday at Western Boone as the North Montgomery Chargers traveled to Dover for a match up with the Stars. For the girls it was the final game of the regular season while for the guys they’re in the meat and potatoes of their schedule. The girls got things going and the Stars were able to handle the Chargers handily ending their season with 66-35 win. In the boys game it came to the final seconds as Western Boone’s Luke Barta sealed the Stars victory with a game-winning shot with 2.6 seconds left as WeBo came away with a 40-39 win.
Stars handle Chargers to end season on high note
Western Boone girls in their 66-35 win over North Montgomery on Friday capped off what is now a 16-win regular season. Its their most wins since the 2018-19 season (17) as the host Stars controlled the game from the opening tip against the Chargers. Their full-court press forced countless Charger turnovers which resulted in plenty of fast-break scores.
For the game North Montgomery turned the ball over 28 times and had a hard time finishing off possessions as the Stars tallied 16 offensive rebounds. Overall North Montgomery coach Ryan Nuppnau chalked up the loss while giving credit to the home team.
“They (WeBo) came out and were aggressive and simply wanted it more than we did,” Nuppnau said. “They’re bigger, stronger, and quicker than us at basically every spot. You could see the desire they played with and it resulted in their defense playing stellar. We just have to be stronger with the ball because we know our girls are better than that.”
Katharyn Rutherford led all scorers in the game with 22 points for the Stars. Lili Jones added 14 with Emmy Roys scoring 11. In total eight different Stars scored as they shot 26-50 (52%) from the field. It was an all-around great performance that Stars coach Hannah Kelly was delighted to see.
“Our defense was there from the start,” Kelly said. “That was really what was able to kick-start our offense and it really continued as the game progressed. Katheryn is like our energizer bunny that gets us going and the entire team sees that and rallies together. She’s the type of player that really makes a difference in your program.”
A nice little tribute happened about mid-way through the final quarter as all five of WeBo’s seniors in Rutherford, Roys, Jones, Carlie Pennington, and Saige Terwiske all got to share the court one final time as they got a rousing ovation from the crowd.
“Those girls are a great group of girls to be around,” Kelly said of her five seniors. “Despite it only being my second year, these girls brought a ton of leadership from day one. Their talent on the court will be missed but their attitudes and demeanors will be missed even more.”
Piper Ramey led North Montgomery with 12 points while the trio of Macee Norman, Jadelyn Phillips, and Krestyn Bradford all scored six.
The Stars, who end the regular season at 16-6 (5-2 SAC) will now shift gears towards sectional play which begins on Tuesday. They’ll get a re-match with rival Lebanon as the Tigers host the Class 3A Sectional 25. Back on Dec. 9 the Tigers bested the Stars 49-33.
North Montgomery ends their regular season at 3-20 (1-6 SAC). The Chargers will also open up sectional play on Tuesday. They’ll travel to Benton Central for the Class 3A Sectional 22 and have their hands full with the No. 1 ranked team in 3A in undefeated Twin Lakes.
Barta seals Stars comeback win
Western Boone coach Dustin Oakley drew up the perfect out of bounds play and saw his team execute it to perfection as senior Luke Barta’s game winning shot with 2.6 seconds left lifted the Stars to a come from behind 40-39 win over North Montgomery.
Leading 37-32 with 2:25 left North Montgomery saw its lead slip away. With 16.5 left, Jarrod Kirsch missed the front end of a one and one at the foul line with the Chargers clinging to a 39-38 lead. The Stars got the in-bound and raced across mid-court where Oakley called a timeout and the rest is history.
“We wanted to make sure that Luke was going to get the ball and he was either going to get fouled or score,” Oakley said. “It was great execution all the around on that final play and Luke played amazing tonight. Credit to our other guys to as Gavin Hawkins and Levi Lagrange both hit both free-throws when we needed them to in the final minute. It was an all-around gutsy win and that’s been the story of our season. These kids just don’t give up and we needed one to go our way tonight.”
Barta ended with a game-high 17 points for the Stars. Kaden Bennington who ended up fouling out added seven as did Lagrange.
Kelby Harwood had 14 to lead North Montgomery while Kirsch scored nine, and both Colton Zachary and Ross Dyson added six.
“The game shouldn’t have came down to that final play,” Charger coach Chad Arnold said. “We made some bad decisions late and didn’t box out on a key free-throw which led to a three for them. Credit them for making the winning plays when they needed to, because we didn’t. Our kids gave a ton of effort, but Barta simply killed us all night long and made enough plays to help them win.”
It was an all-around great week for the Stars as their C-team, JV and now varsity teams all came away with wins as Oakley mentioned. The Stars were also playing without starting point guard Marcus Stepp who runs the offense and averages about nine points per game.
“Big credit to our sophomores who had to fill in tonight too,” Oakley said. “Bryce Kopriva and Gavin Hawkins both stepped in and I’m just super proud of all of our guys. It’s a great team right now with the non-stop fight that we continue to show.”
The Stars earn their first Sagamore Conference win as they improve top 4-11 (1-5 SAC). They’ll be back in action on Saturday as they host Seeger.
North Montgomery with the loss falls to 4-12 (0-5 SAC). They host Attica on Saturday for homecoming.