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Sharp-shooting Starr guides Foothill to 11th straight victory

Foothill holds on to beat rival Basic behind seven three-pointers from Austin Starr

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Leila Navidi

Isaiah Villaros of Basic sits on the ground after a play during a boys basketball game against Foothill at Basic High School in Henderson on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

Foothill at Basic Boys Basketball

Chris Echols of Foothill goes up for a basket during their boys basketball game at Basic High School in Henderson on Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Launch slideshow »
Prep Sports Now

Back in time for Gorman vs. Findlay, league play

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer catch up on all of the valley's high school basketball action.

Foothill junior Austin Starr may have established himself as the best three-point shooter in town this season.

It’s almost impossible to find any flaw with his game beyond the arc.

“He doesn’t knock all of them down,” Foothill coach Kevin Soares said.

But Starr doesn’t miss very often either. He went 7-for-11 on three-point attempts Wednesday night at Basic, leading Foothill to a 71-67 victory.

The game marked the Falcons' 11th straight win, which is especially impressive considering standout senior Brannon Cresanto hasn’t played in two weeks with an injury.

Soares asked Starr to take even more scoring responsibility with Cresanto’s absence, and he’s answered. Starr, who scored 24 points against the Wolves, has now recorded at least 20 points in three of the Falcons' past five games.

“It’s just happened to come my way,” Starr said. “I’ve just kept working on it, kept working on my shot.”

Basic was aware that one of the keys to upsetting its neighboring rival was slowing Starr. The Wolves succeeded admirably in the first half, limiting Starr to two points, to go into the locker room up 33-32.

Soares knew something had to change in the third quarter.

“We ran a couple sets for him to get open,” Soares said of Foothill’s halftime adjustments, “and they executed.”

And so the barrage began. Starr sank five triples in six minutes during the third quarter. He added another two minutes into the fourth quarter to cap off a 13-2 run, where the Falcons went from tied to holding a game-high 11-point lead at 57-46.

“He seems to knock them down at the right time for us,” Soares said.

Starr made the shots in a variety of ways — wide-open from the top of the key, contested from the wing and in transition from the corner among them.

Foothill needed the entire cushion Starr provided. Down 10 with three minutes to go, Basic made a furious rally with pressure defense and a hot streak from senior DeVonte Boyd.

Boyd struggled to find his shot early in the game, but exploded for nine points down the stretch. He finished with a game-high 25 points.

Boyd also had two of his five assists and two of his four steals in the fourth quarter. Antraye Johnson, who had 11 points and six steals on the night, and Isaiah Villaros, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, also forced turnovers to give the Wolves a shot at the end of the game.

Down 68-65 with 15 seconds to go, Basic’s Chandler Kamai got to the free-throw line but missed both shots to help Foothill escape.

“We were looking to finish way different,” Starr said. “They played tough at the end. We were expecting to get a bigger win than that.”

Foothill was also aided by its work on the boards. The Falcons out-rebounded the Wolves 41-34.

Chris Echols led the team with eight rebounds, while Elijah Smith and Torrance Littles grabbed seven each. Echols complemented Starr with 10 points.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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