Lanesville overpowers lethargic Lady Pack
Crawford County girls’ basketball coach Alan Cox felt like, if he had a chance to put a ‘W’ in his team’s winning column, it would the Lady Pack’s game against visiting Lanesville. The Lady Eagles, however, had something to say about that and did so in a big way, grabbing the lead early and never letting go for a 53-35 win.
‘We started off quick finally,’ Lanesville coach Kevin Smith said. ‘On our last three games, even the one we won against Christian Academy last game, we started off slow. I told them we’ve got to get off to a quick start, and we did that with our defense and we finally played a little bit of defense for a game. In other games, we just haven’t played very defensively. It just steamrolled.’
‘This is a team that, of all the teams on our schedule, we should have been able to compete with and play and we didn’t,’ Cox said. ‘We came out not ready to play.’
Steamrolled is definitely what the Lady Eagles did in the first quarter. Lanesville scored the first seven points, then Mandi McLain scored in the paint and later added a free throw. From there, however, it was all Lanesville, which scored the next 13 points for a 20-3 lead after one quarter.
‘After the first two minutes of the game, we played like we’d given up,’ Cox said.
Lanesville pushed its lead to 27-5 midway through the second. Crawford County failed to get a run going until the latter part of the half, outscoring Lanesville 7-3. The Lady Eagles, however, weren’t spooked, taking a 30-12 lead to the locker room at the break.
‘I thought we had to keep them off the boards, which the first half we didn’t really do,’ Smith said. ‘I thought defensively it had to start with defense on them, keep them out of the middle and easy shots inside. I didn’t feel they could hurt us on the outside very much, but I thought they could hurt us on the inside. That was a key with that.’
One thing hurting Crawford County was point guard Tylynn Allen being called for her third foul in the first period.
‘It killed me because we have no depth this year,’ Cox said. ‘It wasn’t just her, but this was indicative of how we played tonight. The first foul she committed was a nonsense foul. There was no rhyme or reason for her fouling on that situation. That was right at the very beginning of the game and was 40 feet from the basket. There wasn’t even a play to be made. She just goes up and commits a silly foul.’
Lanesville scored the first six points of the second half for a 36-12 advantage. The Lady Eagles kept that advantage all the way into the fourth quarter until Cox put in two of his sophomores, Brooklyn Matlock and Cheyenne Vanlaningham. The pair of youngsters gave the Lady Pack a spark to ignite an 11-3 run closing the gap to 44-31 midway through the period. From there, however, Lanesville matched everything Crawford County put up and eventually went on to get the 53-35 win.
‘It wasn’t until the fourth quarter I put in a couple of JV guards that came out and made some things happen,’ Cox said. ‘I really had to thank those two in the locker room because, if it wasn’t for Vanlaningham and Brooklyn Matlock, we probably would have gotten beat 40 points tonight. They came in and started getting after some people, and it became a little bit contagious.’
‘I don’t know whether we got tired or complacent,’ Smith said of the fourth-quarter performance. ‘We don’t know how to play with a lead yet. We only won four games last year, so they don’t know how to play with a lead. We showed it. That’s something we have to correct in practice … I think that led to them coming back.’
Brooklynn Keinsley led the winners with 25 for the game. Lanesville connected on 20 of 44 field goals (45 percent) but just 9 of 21 free throws. The Lady Eagles had 15 turnovers in 32 minutes of play.
‘Brooklynn is our go-to girl,’ Smith said. ‘We have to have her to score and play well for us to win. People will key on her. She’s athletic. She didn’t hit her 3s very well tonight, but she started driving the ball and getting some easy baskets for her. That just helps us out offensively if she keeps doing that.’
‘We’re just trying to learn how to win and play the game of basketball right now,’ he said. ‘We’ve got a tough four games coming up, and for us to get this win right here was huge for us, mentally … We’re a work in progress.’
Brooke Sauer led Crawford County with 11 points for the game. The Lady Pack hit just 14 of 58 field goals (24 percent) and only 5 of 13 free throws. Crawford also had 15 turnovers.
Cox said the school’s girls’ sports program has been in a slump overall the last few years. The school has to find a way to climb out of the valley and develop a winning attitude, he said.
‘Maybe we’ve just accepted that losing is OK, and I can’t settle for that,’ Cox said. ‘I’m not about to let that happen. We’ve struggled, and I don’t want these girls to get to the point where losing is acceptable. We’ve got to instill a winning attitude in all of our sports programs here. We’ve struggled with that.’