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Time question? Clock dooms Lady Rebels

Controversy marred a hotly contested match between Crawford County and visiting South Central in girls’ basketball Thursday night as a clock issue at the end of regulation disrupted the Lady Pack’s 56-54 overtime win.
The drama began with seconds to go in the fourth quarter. With three seconds remaining, Crawford junior Chelsea Benham picked up her fourth foul, sending sophomore Kristin Shaffer to the free-throw line. Shaffer hit the second of two, and the Lady Rebels took a 50-48 lead. Benham took the inbounds pass on the left side even with the South Central free-throw line and raced down the floor with heavy pressure from the Lady Rebels’ defense.
The clock, however, did not start until Benham crossed the center line. The Crawford junior got inside the key and put up an off-balanced shot with two defenders blocking the way. South Central was called for a foul as the horn sounded. The entire South Central bench argued about the clock starting late, and the officials conferred at the scorer’s table.
After several minutes, the play was allowed to stand despite continued arguments by South Central. Benham went to the free-throw line and connected on both, sending the game into overtime.
‘I’m not really watching the clock,’ said Crawford coach Eric Toney. ‘I’m assuming that given what all went on, we maybe got a little extra time. I thought Benham got fouled in regulation a play or two before that, where I thought they kind of swallowed the whistle. So breaks happen in basketball. Sometimes they go against you and sometimes they go for you.’
South Central coach Randall Schoen disagreed.
‘They’ve got to take some responsibility here, too,’ said Schoen of the situation. ‘There’s no way that game should have ever been in overtime. Somebody here needs to step up and say ‘You’re right, it shouldn’t have been.’ I know we can’t change the outcome but don’t just blow it off and say, ‘Oh well, that happens.’ It doesn’t happen.’
Neither team scored in the overtime period until Kacey Cox sank a three with 1:04 left, giving Crawford a 53-50 lead. Miller got one of two free throws, but Cox countered with a single. Barron added to Crawford’s lead with two free throws, but Miller came back to drill a 30-footer, and the Lady Rebels called a quick time-out with :03 left again. Crawford, however, passed the ball around in the final seconds to secure the 56-54 win.
‘We got a break probably with the clock, but we had to play well to come back to put us in that position and that’s what I’m really pleased about, the poise that we had,’ said Toney. ‘We were beat if we wanted to be, but we didn’t want to be. We got back in the game doing things right.’
When asked if he would put an asterisk next to the loss, Schoen said he wouldn’t.
‘I told the girls other than a win, it doesn’t mean anything,’ he said. ‘We wanted to win this game and it would have been a good win for us on the road, but it doesn’t mean anything to us except that it is just a win. As long as we can learn from it and move on with it, then we’ll find out what kind of team we have from this.’
The game began with South Central exploding to a 20-4 lead early into the second quarter with the Lady Pack hitting just 2 of 14 field goals to that point.
Crawford continued to fight back and eventually drew even.
‘The main point I’d like to make is that I was very pleased in how we came back,’ Toney said.
‘We had Crawford on the ropes several times, and you have to give them credit,’ said Schoen. ‘We were having our way through different stretches throughout the game. We were able to pull away but just wasn’t able to sustain it.’
Chelsea Benham led Crawford (9-4) with 21 points, hitting 9 of 11 free throws. Chelsey Barron was just behind with 20 for the night. The Lady Pack were 17 of 46 from the field and canned 14 of 19 free throws. Crawford had 10 turnovers.
Shelby Miller led South Central (11-3) with 15 points, and Brittany Schoen finished with 14 for the game. The Lady Rebels were 20 of 41 from the field and hit 5 of 9 free throws.
‘I can live with it,’ Schoen said. ‘We told the girls we missed some free throws and shouldn’t have been in that situation. We shouldn’t have came down to that … We put ourselves in the position. If we hit the free throws and don’t turn the ball over, that doesn’t hurt us. We still win the ball game.’