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SC puts the clamps on Crothersville

Defending its own turf, on homecoming, in a key conference game, South Central’s boys stayed in the hunt for the league championship Friday night by defeating Crothersville 68-52 in varsity cage action.
The Rebels held the visitors to 5-22 shooting in the first half and forced 24 turnovers in picking up their second win in a row.
‘Crothersville came in at 6-6 and playing very good basketball. Our defense gave them a lot of problems, but we were our own worst enemy tonight because we’d go down to the other end and give the ball right back to them,’ South coach Greg Robinson said. ‘That was disappointing, but after the way we played last week, I was really pleased.’
Chad McRae led the winners with 20 points, and freshman Cody Jobe posted 15. Jimmy Jamison was the only other Rebel close to double-figures with nine.
‘(Jobe) is a very good athlete. As he gets a better court presence, which he’s starting to do for us, he’s going to be pretty good. He’s got a lot of untapped potential there, and he’s starting to show it,’ Robinson said.
The Tigers (6-7, 1-2 S.A.C.) opened the game with leads of 4-0 and 6-3.
A free throw by McRae sparked a 10-0 run by the hosts (6-8, 2-1), who also got points from Jobe and Cody Simpson during the spurt. Colt Wienhorst hit a free throw for Crothersville to set the first quarter score at 13-8.
The Rebels would outscore the visitors, 11-6, to hold a 10-point advantage at the half.
For reasons Robinson couldn’t explain, South’s defense was a bit more porous in the second half. While Crothersville was able to shoot 11-30 in the half, the club was never able to make a serious challenge at the lead.
‘Our plan was to play a lot of people and run them in and out. When you do that, it’s going to look a little bit sloppy, but our plan was to wear them down. I think we did that and got them in foul trouble,’ Robinson said.
Darrin Jones, Robbie Money and Kyler Blevins helped the Tigers bring the deficit down to single digits, 33-25.
McRae hit a free throw, which was followed by a triple from Jones and another McRae deuce. Brandon Eschbacher marked an old-fashioned three for South, but Chris Campbell kept the Tigers in it with two free throws with five seconds left in the third quarter.
McRae went coast-to-coast for a lay-in at the buzzer to keep the difference in double-digits heading into the fourth, 41-30.
Jobe notched the first three points of the final period, when Crothersville was only able to inch within 10, 46-36, after a three by Jones and a two-ball by Wilp.
The final 5:50 of the quarter was a impromptu free throw contest, with little ground gained or lost by either club.
A couple of baskets by McRae and a deuce by Eschbacher, who finished with seven points, gave South an 18-point lead in the final minute. Crothersville’s Chris Campbell hit a three and Bobby Isenhower scored inside to set the final margin at 16.
‘Overall, I was pretty happy, except for the turnovers. That’s just the kind of games we’re going to play: grind it out,’ Robinson said. ‘We’ve ground out a lot of games and didn’t quite put the hammer down on them at the end. Tonight we were able to grind one out and make a nice flurry in the fourth quarter to ensure ourselves of the win.’
South Central went 20 of 38 (53 percent) from the field, drained four threes in 11 attempts, and hit 24 of 42 free throw tries.
Crothersville, which won the rebounding battle by seven, 36-29, hit 16 of 52 shots (31 percent) and was 4-15 from three-point land. The Tigers went 16 of 26 from the foul stripe.
The Tigers had a fairly balanced scoring attack, with Jones leading the way with 18 points. Wilp added nine and Money and Campbell put in eight apiece.
South hosts defending conference and sectional champion Henryville (7-7, 1-1) Friday night in Elizabeth.
The Hornets, who defeated South Central last year, 69-51, are coming off a 62-49 S.A.C. loss to Borden.
With Lanesville still undefeated in S.A.C. play, a loss by either club will likely take the team out of league contention.
‘We’re still in there. One loss might get that title,’ Robinson predicted. ‘Unfortunately, we don’t control our destiny for the conference the whole way. If we can come back next week and get this kind of effort, with fewer turnovers, maybe we can get one on Henryville. Then, if Lanesville slips up, maybe we have a shot at it.
‘All we can do at this point is keep playing and keep ourselves in a position to be there at the end. As long as we have a shot at it, we’re still going to go for it.’