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Wolfpack grind it out against Eagles


February 26, 2014 | 11:32 AM

The Lanesville Eagles did their best Saturday night to take the teeth out of host Crawford County in the Ron Ferguson Gymnasium, but the Wolfpack kept their jaws tight and held on to get a 61-54 win. It took some late free throws by the Wolfpack and some weariness by the Eagles at the end for Crawford County to get its 16th win of the season.

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Lanesville's Matthew Husband fights off some tough defensive pressure by Crawford County's Brandon Cate in the third quarter of the Wolfpack's 61-54 win. Photo by Wade Bell (click for larger version)
"The way Lanesville plays when the game is over you feel like you have been at the dentist for about three hours," Crawford County coach Mike Brown said. "You've had three teeth pulled with no Novocain and, when the teeth were gone, they just sent you home. That's how you feel.

"That's not a bad thing about them; that's how they make the game," he said. "They play hard and get after you. When you think you're open, you're not, and when you think you have an open shot, you don't. You just have to dig in and grind with them in order to beat them."

"They (Crawford County) were a little faster, quicker and they can't really see that on tape 'til you get out there," Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. "We had some shots early; they just didn't fall. When you get some shots to fall early, you relax a little bit. So, until we got that first one, everybody was a little uptight."

Neither team shot the ball well at the beginning of the game; however, in the first five minutes, the Wolfpack took a 9-0 lead. Lanesville finally got on the board with 2:03 to go in the first period when Ryan Fulkerson got a deuce-and-one. Crawford County's Ethan McMonigle and Zach Thomas scored inside for a 13-3 Wolfpack advantage, but Joe Ferree canned a three at the buzzer, closing the gap to seven, 13-6, at the end of the quarter.

"We had a rough beginning," Miller said. "We got down there by 9-0, and then we seemed to get some momentum going. Then, our play pretty much was fine. That 9-0 ... in the beginning kind of cost us a little bit. We were adjusting to the speed from what we had played the last couple of games."

Tate Stilger buried another Lanesville three to begin the second period to close the gap to four. Crawford County went back up by six, but Ferree answered again, as he and Matthew Husband combined for five points to close the gap to one.

Ranger Caffrey gave Crawford County a free throw, but Stilger canned his second three to put Lanesville on top, 19-18. That lasted only briefly, however, as Caffrey hit from behind the arc. Lanesville countered with two free throws.

Brandon Cate and Jacob Mauck put Crawford County back up by four with two drives in the lane. Stilger again answered for the Eagles with his third three of the period, and Crawford County went to the locker room up one, 25-24, at the break.

"When we were fresh, we looked good, but we were fresh for only about four minutes of the game," Brown said. "That was the very first four. Once we had to sub Jake (Mauck) out, they became a lot harder to guard because Jake is one of our best defenders. By the time we needed to sub some other guys out, we can't sub Jake back in."

Lanesville kept the game tight through the first three minutes of the third period, but Crawford County then had a 6-0 burst to go up by eight, 36-28, forcing the Eagles to call a time-out with 3:50 left.

Noah Frazier got two points out of the time-out, but Crawford County answered with four for a 40-30 lead. Lanesville kept its composure and countered with an 8-2 run, closing the distance back to four.

Cate and Caffrey answered for Crawford County in the final seconds, and the Wolfpack held a 46-38 advantage with one quarter left.

The Eagles put a scare into Crawford County fans to begin the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run to close the gap to one, 48-47. Crawford County countered with the next six points, but the game continued to be one of runs as Lanesville kept it close with a 5-1 burst, closing the gap back to three with 2:10 to go.

From that point, however, the Wolfpack stayed out front from the free-throw line to get the 61-54 win.

"I'm proud of them for what we had to do under the circumstances, because we had some guys make some big plays," Brown said. "We kind of pulled together there in the fourth quarter and made some defensive stops."

"We let some things slip there in the fourth quarter," Miller said. "We gave up way too many easy baskets under the basket. I think that was the difference in the ballgame. We just didn't come up with some key stops when we needed to, and they made some baskets and hit some free throws down the stretch."

Thomas and McMonigle led the winners with 15 points each. Caffrey hit for 14, and Mauck added 11. Crawford County canned 22 of 39 field-goal attempts (56 percent) and 12 of 20 free throws. The Wolfpack had 12 turnovers.

Ferree led Lanesville with 14 points, and Fulkerson added 11. Jason Harmon added 10 points for the Eagles, who hit 17 of 39 field-goal attempts (44 percent) and 12 of 22 from the charity stripe. Lanesville had just seven turnovers for the 32 minutes.

"We're not the biggest team in the world but, if we can keep the rebounding close, and in some cases end up winning (the battle for most rebounds), that really gives us a good chance to win," Miller said. "I think we got outrebounded tonight by a few rebounds, but we gave ourselves a chance to win in the end just because we kept it close enough against them."

"They hit some big shots on us," Brown said. "They used their big man (Fulkerson) outside a lot, which we had not seen a whole bunch. He's a good shooter out there, and he's also a guy who can get the guards open for three's. We tried a lot of different things the first half, and I'm not sure any of them worked."

"We're 13-8 and have had 13 successful runs and eight failures," Miller said. "Of our 21 games, we've had our core group of kids together 14 of those games. For seven games, for one reason or another, we had somebody missing. Our leading scorer (Jack Ferree) was out tonight, but the other kids really picked it up."

Lanesville drew the bye in the Class A Borden Sectional and will await the winner between Christian Academy of Indiana versus New Washington game (March 5). The semi-final game will be March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Lanesville 6 18 14 16 54

Crawford County 13 12 21 15 61

Lanesville (13-8) Ferree 14, Frazier 2, Fulkerson 11, Harmon 10, Lane 1, Stilger 9, Husband 7

Crawford County (16-3) Caffrey 14, Cate 12, Melton 1, Mauck 4, Thomas 15, McMonigle 15

3-point goals Lanesville 7 (Ferree 2, Fulkerson 2, Stilger 3); Crawford County 3 (Caffrey 2, Thomas).

Twitter: @TheManiacHiker

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