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Crawford’s Jones no match for Eagles, 84-69

Crawford’s Jones no match for Eagles, 84-69
Crawford’s Jones no match for Eagles, 84-69
Crawford County junior Spencer Griswold (left) and Lanesville's Taylor Hess went eye to eye as both fought for possession of the ball in the first half of Saturday night's tussle. (Photo by Wade Bell)

In a game that put two of the state’s top shooters against each other, Crawford County’s Lyndon Jones out-shot Lanesville’s Chris VanHoose 32 points to 23 points on a snowy Saturday night, but the Eagles were the ones who got to celebrate at the end as they came out with an 84-69 win over the visiting Wolfpack.
Both coaches had big things to say about the opposing shooter when it was said and done.
‘I was here (Friday) night and saw them play Crothersville, and he makes the other people better,’ Crawford coach Mike Ray said of VanHoose. ‘That’s the mark of a good basketball player.’
VanHoose topped the 1,500-point mark for his career and now sits at 1,502 as his school’s all-time leading scorer.
‘He had a few open looks, but not that many,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said of Jones. ‘We had a guy with a hand in his face or draped on him sometimes. He hit some tough shots. He was hitting fadeaways, and when a kid gets going early like that, they just keep it going.’
Lanesville went downtown early, nailing three of four three-ball attempts to take a 9-5 lead. Spencer Griswold closed the game back to two for Crawford with a deuce inside, but the Eagles countered with 10 unanswered points for a 21-10 advantage. Crawford got just one of those back before the end of the period and was down 24-14 after the first eight minutes.
Griswold and Jones pulled Crawford within five points with a deuce-and-three in the first minute of the second period. VanHoose buried a three-pointer, but the Wolfpack’s Donnie Patton scored inside and then Jones got another three, cutting Crawford’s deficit to three, 27-24.
Evan Hussung got a Lanesville deuce, then Nathan Rogers sandwiched two deuces around a John Kissel three to keep Crawford within four. However, VanHoose swished another three to begin a 7-4 burst in the final 2-1/2 minutes of the half for a 39-32 Eagle lead at the break.
With a half to go, both Jones and VanHoose were even with 13 points each.
‘We’d seem to make a run and get up 10 to 12 points and they’d make a run and get it back to five or six points,’ Miller said. ‘They’re a solid team. They’ve been in a lot of games that could have went either way for them this season.’
Crawford’s youngsters were making a good showing with underclassmen Bo Benham, Evan Crecelius, Dustin Bowling and Spencer Griswold keeping the Wolfpack in the hunt.
‘They did,’ Ray said. ‘You saw our younger kids in with the varsity level, and we’re going to be fine down the road. The immediate thing right now is trying to fix this basketball team.’
The two teams traded paint through the first four minutes of the third period, then Lanesville grabbed gear for a 13-4 run and a 56-40 lead.
Crawford didn’t panic, and made up some ground with an 8-4 burst to pull within 12, 60-48, with one quarter left.
In the fourth period, the Eagles dropped a pair of deuces and a single to take a 65-48 lead. That was too big of hole for the Wolfpack to claw out of and the Eagles had their 18th win of the season, 84-69.
‘When you’re shooting layups, you shoot a high percentage,’ Ray said. ‘We got behind early, but we clawed and got back into it at halftime, and I thought we were going to make a game of it.
‘Then, we came out in the third quarter and wouldn’t get back in transition defense and gave up several uncontested layups.’
Jones’ 32 points led the Wolfpack scoring, with Benham following with 12 and Griswold adding 10. Crawford was 29 of 58 (50 percent) from the field and 6 of 9 on free throws. The Wolfpack committed 15 turnovers.
‘Lyndon’s doing a lot of good things for us, but it’s a shame some of his teammates aren’t catching on,’ Ray said. ‘With the way he’s playing, if we could get some of the other guys playing, it would make us a lot better basketball team. Defensively, it’s hard to win when you give up 84 points.’
VanHoose had a double-double, with 23 points and 10 assists. David Lieber added 14 points. Lanesville shot 63 percent from the field, hitting 29 of 46 shots. The Eagles weren’t quite as good from the free throw line, however, sinking just 16 of 32 tries. Lanesville made 14 turnovers.
The Eagles were coming off a 53-47 victory over Crothersville on Friday night, a win that secured the team’s second straight league championship and a second consecutive 18-3 mark at the end of the regular season.
‘We got off to a slow start in the first quarter and then kind of picked things up as the game went along,’ Miller said. ‘We played hard, but at times we did not have the energy I would have liked.’
After trailing by one, 13-12, at the end of the first quarter, the No. 7-ranked Eagles used a 20-7 spurt in the second period to effectively put the game away.
VanHoose scored 21 points to lead four Lanesville players in double figures. Kenton Acton added 15, Lieber had 12, and Taylor Hess scored 11.