By Justin Whitaker
LIZTON — Both the boys and girls Tri-West basketball teams fell last night at home against Sagamore Conference rival Western Boone in a doubleheader.
The Bruins boys’ and girls’ teams each had its respective chances at victory against the Stars but faltered late.
After averaging nearly 65 points per game in the first five games, the Tri-West girls could not get things going offensively and fell 47-43 to the Stars.
Senior leading scorer Lauren DeSutter, who was averaging 23 points per game entering last night’s contest, was held to only seven points and the team shot 32 percent as a whole.
“Our energy and our effort were good tonight. It just came down to basically we didn’t shoot the ball well,” Tri-West coach Brad Acton said. “Part of that was we had a lot of open shots but we just didn’t hit them. At the same time we got out of rhythm trying to get Lauren the ball.”
The Stars shadowed DeSutter the entire evening and tried to prevent her from getting the ball on almost every possession.
Junior Marisa Meyer stepped up in the first half by scoring 11 points, including three 3-pointers, as the Bruins trailed 29-24 at the break.
“Tonight, it was good to see her come out early because they were trying to shut down Lauren and Katrina (Headlee),” Acton said.
Headlee, a sophomore, got going in the third quarter even when the team was faltering.
She scored all seven of Tri-West’s third quarter points in a span of less than two minutes when she converted two long jumpers and a 3-pointer. The Stars were not able to create much separation though as they shot 2 of 12 in the quarter.
“I can’t fault our defense at all,” Acton said. “There were times I thought we were in position for the block out and we got our hands on the ball and they kind of came up with it.”
In the fourth quarter, Western Boone made three of its six shots, which was good enough for a 47-43 victory.
Meyer led the Bruins with 12 points and Headlee contributed 10.
Coach Acton’s young group fought, but struggled to put together consistent offense.
“Some of it is the inexperience and the inconsistency, you never really know going into the game who is going to show up,” he said.
Leading nearly the entire game, Tri-West gave up a critical 9-0 run in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the difference.
“Basketball is a game of runs and they made a big run there with a couple big shots and it just kind of got away from us,” Tri-West coach Adam Bontreger said. “We have to have guys who are going to step up in that kind of a situation to get stops. It’s still a young season but in my opinion that’s where really they took the game from us.”
Western Boone won 65-57 by limiting the Bruins to one field goal in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We were just kind of stagnant on offense, there wasn’t a whole lot of movement,” Bontreger said. “We were trying to get our bigs involved the whole night and (Jake) Hendershot and (Dustin) Burks played a nice game for us but we’ve got to have some guards who can knock down some shots. We were pounding into them and getting great kick out opportunities and just got to have guards to knock it down.”
Burks led the Bruins with 15 points and sophomores Hendershot and Trevor Waite added nine each.
The Bruins led 14-13 after the first quarter, 33-27 at halftime and 48-44 after three. To lose the game in the fourth quarter was extremely disappointing for Bontreger.
“I still got to remind myself that I have a lot of young players on this team and a lot of inexperience,” he said. “Even though we had a lot of young guys playing last year we got some guys stepping up in leadership positions that aren’t used to doing that. It’s going to take time for us to get where we need to be.”
Senior captain Mitch Alexander exited the game in the second quarter with an injury that is believed to be a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Alexander, who was selected to the Class 3A All-State football team and had committed to Marian University to play football this week, is a valuable member of the Bruins.
“He’s definitely our vocal leader, he’s definitely our spark guy and he means a heck of a lot to our team,” Bontreger said. “Every single kid on our team and I’m guessing our school look up to that kid because of his heart, his effort and his hard work. To lose him for whatever we are going to lose him is going to be a huge blow.”
But Bontreger said before the season that he think this Tri-West team is the deepest he’s had during his time.
“The thing I like about this team is we have a lot of depth and another guy is going to have to step up,” he said. “Austin Lynn’s been playing great for us, he did a great job again tonight. We feel like we can manage until he (Alexander) gets back.”