May 17—CRAWFORDSVILLE — Every year, the Western Boone boys golf team hopes to peak around the middle of May, hoping to play their best at the conference tournament and into the sectional.
They proved that once again on Monday night as they concluded the Sagamore Conference Tournament.
The Stars shot a season-best 339, winning the conference title for the second-straight year.
"Our schedule is set up to prepare us for today," Western Boone head coach Willie Smith said. "We are playing difficult golf courses shooting 175-178. I knew with good weather and our kids playing smart, we could get around this golf course in as few shots as possible, and we did."
The title came down to the final few groups.
Lebanon played in the first wave of four teams and shot a 344. Through the first two scoring golfers reported, the Tigers had a seven-shot lead over the Stars.
WeBo's fifth score was going to be better than the Tigers, so they needed No. 4 player Elliott Young and No. 5 player Marcus Stepp to combine to shoot 27 or better over the final three holes.
Young went double, par, par, and Stepp closed with three-straight pars to combine for a 22, giving the Stars the title.
"Marcus had a good two-putt par on 16, and then made a 10-footer on 17," Smith said. "Elliott parred 17 and 18 as well. He missed a little tap-in on 16 that I thought may come back to haunt us, but he came back with two good holes. Those two did a great job, and then Levi (LaGrange) anchored us with his 81 and Luke Barta was solid with an 82. It was a total team effort."
Lebanon finished second with a 344.
Breaking down the cards, the Tigers were one-shot back of the Stars with three holes to play, but the Stars played them 4-over as a team, and the Tigers 8-over.
"Credit to Western Boone, they struggled a little bit at the start of the back-nine, but finished really strong," Lebanon head coach Sam Godby said. "They finished strong and were just a little better today. Congrats to them."
The Tigers Toby Meyer was the individual medalist, shooting a 4-over 76.
He won the individual title by four shots.
"Toby has been so solid all-year long," Godby said. "He is our leader, there is no doubt about that and I am really happy for him to get that individual medalist — he deserves it."
Realistically, it will be tough for the Tigers to get out of the sectional as a team, with four of the top-5 teams in the state in the sectional, and only three teams advancing.
But individual qualifying spots are up for grabs, and Meyer is putting himself in a position to get one of those spots.
"He knows he doesn't have to do anything extra," Godby said. "He's played Ulen a million times. He just needs to go out and play Toby Meyer golf and he will be alright."
Lebanon's Alex Emenhiser was second overall with an 80.
Like Meyer, he has been a steady presence in the Tigers' line-up all year.
"Alex has definitely turned the corner this year," Godby said. "His average is down where we want it to be and he is a guy you can't count out at the sectional either. He can get it going and be in good shape."
Western Boone had three on the all-conference first-team.
Levi LaGrange led the team with an 81, with Luke Barta shooting an 82.
Young fired an 85 to get on the team.
"Levi played great," Smith said. "We had a meet Thursday at Southmont, where a couple times he was 100 yards out, and doubled. I knew he could get those things corrected, and if he is hitting greens, he can shoot 36 or 37. He had control of his irons inside 150 and was hitting greens. Luke chipped in for eagle last Monday for his first 40, and I think that propelled him into this and gave him the confidence he needed. I am proud of what those guys did."
Western Boone's Marcus Stepp shot a 91 to round out the Western Boone scorers, and earn second-team all-conference honors. Damian Stout had a 99 as the fifth score.
Lebanon's John Gascho shot an 88 for second-team all-conference honors. Caleb Girdley had a 100 and Dax Frost a 102.
Both Lebanon and Western Boone have a couple more tournaments until the sectional on June 6.
Godby said he just wants his group to find ways to limit some big numbers.
"We need to work on when we get in trouble, finding a way to get out of trouble on the next shot," Godby said. "That's what hurt us today. We need to max sure we minimize the big number."
Smith said he hopes the Stars can use this performance to get some momentum heading into the sectional.
"Everything we do is set up to peak right now, and this is two years in a row we have," Smith said. "We have a couple meets coming up and then gear up to see if we can play well and get an individual or two out on sectional day."
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.