Defense leads to offense in Crawford’s win over Corydon
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
The Corydon Central Lady Panthers went toe-to-toe with Crawford County for two quarters until a third-quarter run helped send the Lady Wolfpack seniors out in style in their final home game, 59-48.
“I told the girls that when you make mistakes, good teams take advantage of them, and they really took advantages of our mistakes tonight,” said Corydon Central Coach Michael Uhl. “A missed layup on our end or a turnover and Crawford County took advantage. They finished some shots off.”
Uhl said a lot of the mistakes his team made were due to the way Crawford County played.
“They play so intense and sometimes they make you play a little faster than you want,” he said. “When we start the sectional Tuesday, Silver Creek is going to do that to us also. We have to get used to that in a hurry.”
Lady Wolfpack coach Christopher Broughton, who picked up his 100th win in seven seasons, credited his team’s effort on the defense end for making the difference.
“Our defense is our bread and butter,” he said. “We want to play the game to where our defense leads to offense. We have athletic, quick kids, and a lot of them have that bulldog mentality, and we want to play to their strengths. Our switching defenses kept Corydon off balance, and it’s a credit to our kids to be able to do that.”
Crawford County maintained a slim lead throughout most of the first half, with its biggest advantage being 12-7 after a three by Taylor Herbaugh.
Ava Weber had an answer for Corydon Central. She converted an old-fashioned three-point play and scored another two. A steal and an easy basket by Jessie Johnson put the Lady Panthers up one, 13-12, heading into the second period.
A basket by Kayla Willoughby stretched the Lady Panthers’ lead two three, but that would be the biggest and only lead they’d have all night.
Treasure Nickelson scored eight of her game-high 22 points in a 3-1/2-minute span, turning a three-point deficit into a five-point, 20-15, lead.
The Lady Panthers answered with a basket by Bailey Orme, and Weber got two more of her team-high 18 points, which tied the score at 20.
Corydon Central got a point from Lillian Wolfe and a three from Orme, while Crawford County answered with two free throws from Nickelson and a basket each by Lexi Fraime and Gabi Gaines to end the first half with the Lady Wolfpack leading by two, 26-24.
The Lady Panthers started the third quarter with two turnovers and a missed field goal, and Crawford County took advantage. Autumn Schigur forced one of those turnovers and ended up with an easy basket as a result.
Fraime scored again, and Gaines drilled a three that extended the small half-time lead to a nine-point lead, 33-24, just one minute into the third quarter.
After a Corydon Central timeout, Gaines scored again and Brooke Elliott hit a three, putting the hosts up 14, 38-24.
Weber scored Corydon Central’s first point of the half with 4:47 remaining in the third when she hit one of two free throws. The first field goal didn’t drop until Grace Erwin made a three at the 4-minute mark. Erwin’s three cut the deficit to 10 and, after the two teams traded points, that’s where it ended up heading into the fourth quarter with Crawford County leading 40-30.
Despite missing the front-end of two one-and-one opportunities, Corydon Central made a run to open the fourth quarter.
Two free throws by Weber and a two by Wolfe kept the deficit at 10, and then two more free throws by Weber and a three-point basket by Willoughby pulled the Lady Panthers to within five, 44-39.
Fraime and Sarah Stutzman scored baskets for Crawford County, and Herbaugh converted an old-fashioned three-point play that put their team back in control 48-39.
The Lady Wolfpack hit eight-of-10 free throws in the final minutes to seal the victory.
In addition to her 22 points, Nickelson added 11 rebounds for Crawford County, including four-of-four free throws in the final minutes.
“Nickelson has really done that for us all year,” Broughton said. “She steps up when we need her to, and she is really playing with confidence and is showing a maturity level to know when she needs to make a play. I am proud of the way she played not only tonight, but all year.”
Both Crawford County and Corydon Central returned to the court last night (Tuesday) for sectional play, with Corydon Central battling Silver Creek and Crawford County playing Providence for the third time this season.
The Lady Wolfpack have beaten the Lady Pioneers in the previous two meetings, but Broughton said doing it a third time will be tough.
“Any time you play a team for a third time, and it’s on their floor, you know it’s going to be tough,” he said, “but I think our kids are ready for the challenge.”
It was to be the second time Corydon Central played the Lady Dragons of Silver Creek this season. Silver Creek won the first meeting, but Corydon Central was able to keep it close late in the game. If the Lady Panthers were to have a shot at pulling off the upset, Uhl said they would need to play better than they did at Crawford County.
“We have got to capitalize and play better than we did tonight,” Uhl said. “Silver Creek is good, they are really good, and it will be a big challenge for us.”
Corydon Central 13 11 6 18 – 48
Crawford County 12 14 14 19 – 59
Corydon Central (13-10) – Ava Weber 18, Grace Erwin 8, Bailey Orme 8, Kayla Willoughby 5, Lillian Wolfe 3, Katie Fessel 2, Emily Harbaugh 2, Jessie Johnson 2.
Crawford County (18-5) – Treasure Nikelson 22, Brooke Elliott 8, Gabi Gaines 7, Lexi Fraime 6, Taylor Herbaugh 6, Autumn Schigur 6, Sarah Stutzman 4.
3-point goals – Corydon Central 5 (Erwin 2, Orme 2, Willoughby 1); Crawford County 4 (Elliott 2, Gaines 1, Herbaugh 1).