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Photo by Debbie Beigh/For the Times Sentinel
Zionsville Times Sentinel

The Zionsville girls basketball team’s season got off to a frustrating start, as the Eagles lost their first two games.

Tuesday, Nov. 7, Zionsville lost its season-opener to Western Boone 43-37 in an away game. The Eagles played their first home game Saturday, Nov. 11, but got no love from Lebanon, falling 67-29.

Zionsville will play its next two games on the road, traveling to Hamilton Heights Saturday, Nov. 18, and then head to McCutcheon Tuesday, Nov. 21 to open Hoosier Crossroads Conference play. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.

Western Boone

The game was a typical first game: Jittery and uneven at first, but transitioned into exciting competition as nerves calmed.

The first point of the season went to Stars senior Heather Theademan, when she made a free throw. WeBo eventually extended its lead to 6-0, as juniors Elizabeth Mercer and Kassie Yates hit a jumper and three-pointer, respectively.

Both teams would each hit eight three pointers. For the Stars, Yates had four long-range baskets, with three of those coming in the first half.

Those threes eventually helped WeBo to a 20-9 lead in the second quarter. At that point, Zionsville began to work its way back into the game, cutting the lead to 23-15 at the break.

The Eagles began to find their shooting range in the second half. Senior Megan Swain hit two three-pointers early in the third quarter, and sophomore Olivia Selm got a three later in the period.

WeBo was still able to hold onto its lead, with some three-point baskets. Theademan, Yates and senior Lindsey Lowhorn all hit a three each, in what turned out to be the only baskets of the quarter for the Stars.

Eagles junior Jessica Fisher laid in a basket toward the end of the third, and that brought Zionsville to within 32-27. Senior Allie Pancake began the final quarter with a three-pointer, and after the Eagles forced a turnover, Pancake hit another three to give Zionsville a 33-32 lead.

Swain’s three-pointer bolsted the Eagles’ advantage to a 36-32. But Theademan ended WeBo’s drought with a three-pointer, and two free throws by Yates gave the Stars a 37-36 lead. Junior Abbey Walker’s foul shot tied the game again, but after that the Stars didn’t allow the Eagles another point, while scoring their remaining six points from foul shots.

“We got a good mix of kids that knew where the ball needed to get to,” said Zionsville coach Brad Montgomery. “We had some kids that normally don’t shoot, like Allie Pancake stepped up and (took) some shots to get some threes, and Megan Swain came on and hit some big-time threes. We got some work to do, but overall (we had) a decent night.”

Yates led WeBo with 14 points, while Mercer had 11. For Zionsville, Swain had 12 points and Pancake scored nine; both had three three-pointers.

Lebanon

The Eagles’ game with Western Boone was suspenseful, but their game against Lebanon lost its luster after the first four minutes.

Credit the Class 3A No. 4-ranked Tigers for that. Although only two players who had a major role on last year’s 23-1 Lebanon team took to the court for this game, a number of players who either had expanded roles or were completely new to the varsity ranks combined to score 38 of Lebanon’s 67 points.

The experienced players, of course, knew exactly what they were doing. Senior Dana Reynolds led in scoring with 19 points, while junior Maggie Boyer contributed 10 points.

The Tigers scored the first four points, but the Eagles responded with five straight points. Pancake hit a three-pointer, and junior Leah Einterz scored a lay-in.

But Lebanon then went on a double-digit scoring run. The Tigers scored 12 straight points, with junior Hannah Boeh scoring six points and Boyer grabbing four points, including Lebanon’s lone three-pointer of the night.

The Tigers only allowed Zionsville a single two-point basket in the second quarter, while scoring 17 points in the same period. Reynolds took over the game by scoring 10 points.

“One thing we expect for Lebanon basketball is tough defense on every possession,” said Tigers coach Tracey Hammel. “A consistent effort on the court, and I think that’s what we saw. When you do that, no matter what the score is, you end up with positive results.”

The Eagles were the victims of that tough defense, which led to a rough shooting night. Zionsville shot 13 of 46 from the field, and only made the one three-point basket out of 14 attempts.

“They’re a good team,” said Zionsville coach Brad Montgomery. “They’re bigger and stronger and better basketball players than we are.” The coach did credit Pancake, Walker, Selm and sophomore Emily Dixon with playing well.

Fisher led the Eagles with seven points. Four other Zionsville girls had four points, and two others scored three points.

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