Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

February 12, 2014

Hot-shooting Panthers down Braves

Strong start keys Western's victory.

RUSSIAVILLE — In a game bookended by clutch shooting at the front end and back end, Western’s hot start trumped Maconaquah’s hot finish Tuesday night in the rivals’ Mid-Indiana Conference boys basketball game.

Western took a 5-4 lead in the opening minutes off Mo Townsend’s first 3-pointer of the night and never trailed or was tied again in a 74-67 victory in the Panthers’ south gym.

Western (9-4, 4-1 MIC) hit seven 3-pointers in the opening half, four off the hot hand of Townsend, who was a perfect 5 for 5 from the field in the opening half. Evan Warden also hit two triples in the first quarter and Austin Weaver hit one in the second quarter, followed by a turn-around jumper. Townsend’s last 3 of the game made the score 31-17 Western with 5:38 left before halftime.

“Great shooting night for our guys,” Western coach Bart Miller said. “Des [Balentine] does a great job, and Evan also does a great job. They penetrate in there, if [Maconaquah defenders] collapse in, they know to kick out and our guys are ready to catch and shoot when their defender goes in. When you take good shots, our guys can knock those down, and shot selection was big in our win.”

Maconaquah (4-9, 0-5 MIC) wasn’t able to trim the lead down to single digits until the final minute of the first half, getting the lead down to nine twice on baskets by K.J. Walton to trail at halftime 40-31.

“Obviously, they’re good shooters, but they’re also very athletic,” Mac coach Andy Steele said. “Starting in man [defense] hasn’t really worked for us this year so we tried to do something different and mix it up throughout the game. I thought for the most part, especially in the first half, we got out on their shooters, they just made them.”

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