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Battle Proven

Lady Pack makes it back-to-back championships in early-season tournament
Battle Proven
Battle Proven
Crawford County’s Gabi Gaines guards Natalie Boesing of Providence during the first half of Saturday night’s championship game of the Battle at the First Capital in Corydon. The Lady Pack prevailed 54-48 in overtime to collect their second straight tournament title. Photos by Chris Timberlake
Chris Timberlake, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Crawford County Lady Pack emerged victorious for a second consecutive season in the Battle at the First Capital in Corydon on Saturday night, turning back Providence in overtime 54-48.

Does Crawford County coach Chris Broughton enjoy the early-season test in which teams play three games in a 24-hour stretch?

“When you come here twice and you win it twice in a row, you’ve got to say yes,” said Broughton. “I like the Saturday aspect of it. It gives us, if we ever win a sectional, a regional feel where you’ve got to play in the morning and at night. It’s a good test for that plus there’s some good competition.”

Battle Proven

Junior forward Treasure Nickelson scored nine of her game-high 29 points in the extra period as Crawford County pulled away

“I was in foul trouble, which is nothing new,” Nickelson quipped afterward. “But, once the game gets going and it gets tight, I’m not trying to say that I’m better than everybody else, but I want the ball to be in my hands, and whenever I get it I know I need to go.”

Crawford County missed a couple of shots at the end of regulation to send the game into the extra four-minute period.

Nickelson made one of two free throws to open the overtime then followed that with a steal and driving layup and a bucket on another drive for a 47-42 lead with 1:35 to play.

“That’s what she’s got to do for us,” said Broughton. “We’ve been challenging her, starting on the bus ride over here actually before the morning game. We said this had to be a Treasure Nickelson day for us if we were going to pull out two victories.

“Somehow she just finds a way to slither in,” he said. “She’s a great player. She’s got to do that for us. So, I’m very proud of her. She stepped up huge for us.”

Providence pulled within three, 47-44, on a Brigid Welch basket inside before Nickelson knocked down two more free throws. Providence turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play, and Crawford County’s Brooke Elliott was soon fouled. She made two free throws for a 51-44 advantage with 47.7 seconds left.

“Everybody played really good,” said Nickelson. “Brooke had 17 points. Everybody contributed.”

Providence senior Natalie Boesing recorded a double-double with 29 points and 13 rebounds.

“Natalie Boesing is good,” said Nickelson. “Oh, my gosh. If I didn’t have to play her again, I wouldn’t be mad.”

The game was played in a tight window with neither team leading by more than seven points. Providence opened an 11-4 advantage by the end of the first quarter. Crawford County pulled within one, 22-21, by halftime, then the teams traded points in a third quarter that saw the Pioneers miss seven consecutive free throws during one stretch before Elliott hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer for a 35-31 Lady Pack advantage heading to the fourth.

Missed free throws proved costly for Providence, which made just 16 of 31 for 52%.

Crawford County carried a 4-2 mark into its annual game with North Harrison last night (Tuesday). Providence fell to 2-2, having played three overtime games in its first four contests.

“I’m just very proud of the kids,” said Broughton. “This gives us a little momentum here going into the next phase of our season.”

Crawford County opened the tournament Friday night with a 48-17 rout of Northeast Dubois then defeated Class A No. 8 Lanesville 53-41 in Saturday morning’s semifinals.

“We played some good competition, especially today,” said Broughton. “Lanesville; have a lot of respect for them and for Providence. I feel like through the first three games our schedule is so tough starting out with Heritage Hills and Pekin and Salem. That kind of prepares you for something like this.”

Crawford County cracked the Class 2A rankings with the tournament win, checking in at No. 10 this week.

Providence reached the title game by edging Corydon Central 52-46 in overtime Friday night and defeating North Central 53-34 Saturday afternoon.

Crawford County        4  17 14    7  12 – 54

Providence                11  11    9  11    6 – 48

Crawford County (4-2) – Nickelson 29, Elliott 17, Stutzman, 5, Fraime 2, Gaines 1.

Providence (2-2) – Boesing 29, Welch 10, Castleberry 3, Nolot 3, Purichia 3.

3-point goals – Crawford County 3 (Elliott 3); Providence 2 (Purichia 1, Castleberry 1).