|Wed, Mar 12, 2014 09:05 AM
December 04, 2013 | 09:41 AM
Crawford County survived visiting South Central Saturday night in the first overtime game of the season for both teams. The Wolfpack held off the Rebels, 58-56, to start their season with a record of 2-0, while South Central fell to 0-2.
"You're going to win some," South Central coach Ryan Crick said. "You're going to lose some. It's tough to lose, and we're 0-2. We've got to find a way to get us a win. Our schedule doesn't get any easier."
Crawford County's Ranger Caffrey (center) fails to get this shot by South Central's Ben Cunningham in the first half Saturday. Crawford County survived in overtime, 58-56. Photo by Wade Bell (click for larger version)
"Since coach (Crick) has been there, they have really been a different team to try to play against," Crawford County coach Mike Brown said. "Not that they've had poor coaches in the past, but one staple of his coaching is his teams play hard all the way to the end. In the past, you get South Central down eight or 10, they would give up for a little bit, then you can get them down 20 and the game is over. You never see that with his teams now."
South Central drew first blood with a 3-ball, and the Rebels held the advantage until Ranger Caffrey sank a pair of 3s that gave the Wolfpack a 10-9 lead. Caffrey followed later with a free throw, then Ethan McMonigle hit a jumper for a 13-9 Crawford County lead. South Central's Jordan Sullivan got two from the charity stripe, and the Wolfpack's lead was just two, 13-11, after one quarter.
Crawford County took the ball inside to begin the second period, using a 10-2 run to lead 23-13. Nick Wemes countered with a three and deuce, but McMonigle and Caffrey pushed the Wolfpack lead back to 10 at halftime, 28-18.
"The first half was ugly on our part," Crick said. "They kicked our rears on the glass. We attempted 17 shots the first half. They attempted 39 shots, offensive glass, see you soon."
Crick had seen the Wolfpack in their Forest Park win and knew where the Rebels had to make their stops.
"We knew we had to stop Cate," Crick said. "He pushes the ball up the floor very well. We practiced for two days trying to stop that. We know McMonigle is a load inside. We had to make sure we had help-side in there.
"They're a team that will spread you out. They use the high-ball screen really well. They either take it off of there or Cate refuses it and takes the ball to the basket himself. We knew that Caffrey was capable of hitting 3s, and we knew that Thomas could hit 3s."
Brown said the first half was a lot like the Forest Park game with things not completely in control.
"I think we're going to have to play ragged at times just to get the kind of shots we want to get," Brown said. "We're not going to scare anybody to death in the half court. ... Right now, it looks really ragged, and I hope in three or four weeks it won't look as ragged. But at least we're trying to push it and trying to look for the right guy. The pace of the game is where we want it."
The game changed in the third period when the Rebels took their game downtown. South Central buried five triples, the first pulling South Central to within three at 30-27. The Rebels continued their artillery barrage with a 13-6 run to lead 40-36.
Drake Melton canned a 3 for the Wolfpack, and, with one second left, Caffrey got a deuce-and-one, giving the Wolfpack a 42-40 edge with one quarter to go.
"The first (3-pointer) was my fault," Brown said. "We came out in a zone to try one possession of zone just to see if maybe later on we could use it, if we were ahead. They immediately hit a 3. Their players were in positions to fire it up, and I told my players they wouldn't be. So, they ran something and got a wide-open shot.
"The other four we take as a group, because I think we gambled a lot upfront on our press to start the second half trying to throw a haymaker and get the game over by lunging for balls we couldn't get and having to cover for each other."
"We had some guards that really stepped up tonight," Crick said. "Nick Veith stepped up and hit some big shots. Wemes hit some big shots. (Nate) Shaffer hit some big shots."
McMonigle put Crawford County up by four early in the fourth quarter, scoring twice in the paint. Ben Cunningham scored for the Rebels, but Jacob Mauck negated those later, keeping Crawford County's lead at four.
Veith canned a freebie then followed with a three to tie the game at 48.
With 40 seconds to go, Shaffer scored inside for the Rebels. The next play saw Veith draw his third foul, sending Cate to the line to tie the game at 50.
Neither team scored in the last half-minute, sending the game into an extra four minutes.
Veith and McMonigle traded baskets to begin the extra period. Caffrey then buried his third 3-pointer of the game, pushing Crawford County's edge to 55-52. Wemes and Mauck traded free throws, then Veith cut the Rebels' deficit to one when he scored inside.
The Rebels quickly called time-out, but Shaffer, on the next play, fouled Caffrey, who hit one of two free throws.
The Rebels missed a three on their next possession with eight seconds left, but they got one more chance when Cate missed two free throws with five seconds on the clock.
Veith missed the last shot of the night, however, and the Wolfpack had the 58-56 win.
"Take nothing away from Crawford County," Crick said. "Coach Brown has done an excellent job with those guys. They fought hard ... "
"They played six seniors tonight, and we played two," Brown said. "I think that showed. They looked like an older team on the floor. They were able to get some things done that we couldn't. Until we get our chemistry and our roles down, if we can just keep winning, then those other things will come."
Caffrey led Crawford County's scoring with 21 points, and McMonigle followed with 13. The Wolfpack were 36 percent from the field, hitting 21 of 57 shots, and made 11 of 21 free throws, while turning over the ball 15 times.
"We had a lot of guys make some big plays," Brown said. "We've just got to get it altogether on who can do what and when. We had some guys take some shots they can't hit. When we're ahead two or three in the fourth quarter, that's not the time to experiment with what your range is."
Veith led the Rebels with 15 points, while Shaffer and Wemes finished with 11 each. Cunningham came off the bench to add 10 for the Rebels, who knocked down 22 of 45 shots (48 percent) and six of eight free throws. South Central had 16 turnovers.
"We shot the ball tonight," Crick said. "We've got to capitalize on making those layups. We've got to make sure we don't get lost on defense. This week in practice is going to be a tough week. We're going to throw everything we can at these guys."
Brown said having an overtime game this early in the season doesn't hurt.
"It can do nothing but help us," he said. "We had a close game the other night. We've been here once already, and we know how to get the job done. We've just got to execute. Overtimes are bad because you want to win in regulation, but I think they're good for your team, especially when you have a young team and inexperienced team. That can help you a lot."