|Sun, Mar 09, 2014 12:45 PM
February 12, 2014 | 10:08 AM
Anytime the Crawford County Wolfpack and North Harrison Cougars get together in any sport, one can expect the night to be like most big rivalries: wild, close and loud. Friday night didn't disappoint as the two teams went through 12 lead changes and 11 ties in their annual boys' basketball matchup.
In the end, it was the visiting Wolfpack who came out on top, edging the Cougars, 64-60, in overtime.
North Harrison's Joseph Hinton looks for a teammate as he drives around Crawford County's Drake Melton. Photo by Wade Bell (click for larger version)
"We didn't know how we would play tonight because we practiced for an hour on Monday to get ready for Orleans, and we didn't play Orleans," Crawford County coach Mike Brown said. "We couldn't practice again. We tried to yesterday but couldn't get but seven kids of 19 in. Today, we came in and practiced light before we came and played. You just never know what you're going to get."
"We wanted to play well against a good team in a sectional-type atmosphere," North Harrison coach Greg Walters said. "The community came out, and it was a fun game. What doesn't get you makes you stronger, and so we want to learn from that opportunity. When we're in it, we want to make sure we come out with a win."
Both teams came out on the attack to begin the game, and both teams led twice in the first quarter. North Harrison briefly went up by three, but Ranger Caffrey countered for Crawford with a deuce inside then had a three-ball following a North Harrison turnover. Austin Nolot got the final basket of the period, and the quarter ended in a 13-all tie.
The second period was more of the same, with four additional ties. In the latter part of the period, Crawford County put together a 6-0 run with three drives in the paint to lead by six, 31-25. Joseph Hinton drilled a three, cutting the Cougars' deficit in half.
Crawford County finished out the period with two turnovers, but North Harrison failed to convert on both, with the Wolfpack taking a 31-28 edge to the locker room at halftime.
"I thought Hinton did a great job of guarding us off the dribble and not letting us drive," Brown said. "What we tried to do from the second quarter on was pick on people that weren't hitting and use their forwards to guard our guards to try to get to the basket."
"We tried to attack their bigs off the bounce and use a lot of misdirection to get ourselves some shots," Walters said. "When they pressed us early in the game, we used our guards to beat their press and get easy baskets."
Crawford County's lead went to five early in the third period, but Hinton drilled a three to counter. Nolot then got a deuce-and-one to put the Cougars in front, 36-35. Moments later, Nolot scored again, but Crawford County's Ethan McMonigle countered.
Dylan Knopp scored for the Cougars following a brief dry spell for both teams. Jacob Mauck and Zach Thomas finished the period with back-to-back buckets for the Wolfpack to end the period, with Crawford County leading 41-40.
McMonigle scored in the paint for Crawford County to start the fourth quarter, but North Harrison's Cory Smith canned two quick 3-pointers to put the Cougars back in front.
Caffrey later swished a Crawford County three to tie the game at 48, but Nolot sandwiched a three and a deuce around a Caffrey deuce.
With 44.2 seconds left in regulation, Crawford County's Brandon Cate drove the lane for a deuce-and-one, tying the game at 53. North Harrison then turned the ball over, but Crawford County missed two chances for the win, sending the game into overtime at 53-all.
"I think both teams are decent teams with some good offensive players, guys that played big effort-wise on defense," Brown said. "We expect it to come down to something like this every time we play them."
There were two quick lead changes to start the overtime period. Nolot hit two free throws to keep the game tied at 57, but Thomas hit a Crawford County deuce. Smith and Caffrey then traded three-balls, with Crawford County staying in front, 62-60, with 30 seconds left.
Nolot fouled Cate on a drive with 3.8 seconds left. The Cougars tried to ice Cate with two time-outs, but the Crawford County senior sank both free throws to seal the Wolfpack win, 64-60.
"With this team, I know every night I'm going to get effort," Brown said. "There were a lot of effort plays out there, a lot of loose balls and a lot of loose rebounds that we had to have that we got. But it was a great game."
"We had a couple of untimely turnovers there at the end of the game," Walters said. "We were in a good situation and had the right guys with the ball in their hands, and it just didn't work out."
Mauck led the Wolfpack with 17 points, and Cate finished with 16. McMonigle added 12 points for the Wolfpack, who hit 24 of 47 field-goal attempts (51 percent) and 12 of 15 free throws. The Wolfpack had just 11 turnovers.
"Jake (Mauck) did a great job all throughout the game and defensively," Brown said. "We've been after him to try to score a little more, and the last two or three games he's been looking for the basketball. He can get there. He's quick."
"We have a different guy step up every night," he said. "The other thing is just effort. I think they play great together. Defensively, they help each other out. They do as good of job of switching and knowing where shooters are as most teams I've had. You like those teams that come to practice every day with hard hats on ready to go."
Nolot led the Cougars with 23 points, and Smith finished with 14. North Harrison connected on 24 of 45 field-goal attempts (53 percent) and five of seven from the charity stripe. North Harrison had 12 turnovers.
"The games we've lost have been against good teams," Walters said. "I still think we're getting better every time we play. We had some injuries early in the season, but we did some good things tonight. It would have been nice if we would have been able to win the game. We just made a couple of decisions that were untimely.
"The guys worked hard to get to this point in the season. It was a game we wanted to win, but they were able to get it done and we weren't. So, I don't think it's a setback."
"These are always good for both teams, because they make you a little tougher," Brown said. "They put you in late-game situations that you cannot practice, and those help you down the line."
Crawford County 13 18 10 12 11 – 64
North Harrison 13 15 12 13 7 – 60
Crawford County (12-3) – Caffrey 16, Cate 9, Melton 2, Mauck 17, Thomas 8, McMonigle 12.
North Harrison (7-8) – Hinton 8, Smith 14, Nolot 23, Flock 9, Knopp 2, Arnold 2, Mink 2.
3-point goals – Crawford County 4 (Caffrey 3, Mauck); North Harrison 7 (Hinton 2, Smith 3, Nolot, Flock).