Rebels rule over Wolfpack
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
Both Crawford County and South Central had lost their season openers before the two teams faced each other Friday night in Ron Ferguson Gymnasium at Crawford County High School. The Wolfpack had fallen at Forest Park, while the Rebels lost at North Harrison. Both teams hoped to take what they had learned in those games and apply it to get their first win of the season.
“We did not play with the same pace against North Harrison,” said South Central coach Greg Robinson. “They probably had something to do with that, but our player movement in the halfcourt wasn’t very good. It’s still not great, but it’s getting better. That was the one thing we really wanted to focus on. I think it was good enough tonight to get us some shots we were able to hit.
“I think the other thing is we learned we could play with anybody,” he said. “We played with North, and they’re the No. 8 team in (Class) 3A. That was a real big test of where our kids believed they’re at. I think we learned that we’re not a bad team.”
“It’s about knowing where you have to be so you don’t have to work so hard on defense, getting in help defense and communication during defense,” said Crawford coach Jerry Hanger Jr. “In the locker room before we came out, they said they didn’t feel like we communicated on defense on the court. That’s one thing I can’t hear. I can’t see it. I’m not inside there with them, and they said there was very little communication.”
At the end of the night,. both teams found out they still have a ways to go but, in the end, it was the Rebels who put the most points on the board to get a 57-48 win.
The two teams traded paint at the start to a 7-7 tie, then Christian Kiper gave the Rebels a breath with a pair of free throws and a three-ball for a 12-7 lead. Hunter Conrad and Isaac Nickelson scored inside for the Wolfpack, but Kiper countered with four for a 16-11 South Central lead at the end of the first period.
Josh Talley and Jacob Davis converted off of South Central turnovers to again close the gap to one, 16-15. South Central then went downtown with Cole Thomas and Jack Schmelz drilling threes from behind the arc. Crawford County scored the next five, but Thomas drilled a second three in response. The Wolfpack finished the half with a 5-2 burst, and the Rebel lead was left at three, 28-25, at the break.
“I thought we rushed ourselves a lot on the offensive end,” said Hanger. “I thought it was a hot potato. I thought we came down and just chucked it as fast as we could and got rid of it. We got the game within three and we took an ill-advised shot, and they go down and hit a three-pointer and that kind of kills all of your momentum. Then, they were up six and we’re still trying to claw our way back in it.”
“I think once we hit a few of those shots from (behind the arc) you start feeling it a little bit,” Robinson said. “I thought Kiper got to the rim several times for us and attacked the rim a little bit. That compresses that defense down and they have to help and it frees up some guys. We are a very unselfish team.”
The two teams traded baskets through most of the third period with South Central still holding a slight advantage, 40-35, following a deuce by Kole Stewart. In the fourth, Chase Satterfield started off the quarter with a three, but Thomas countered with his third three of the night. Schmelz backed that up with another three. The Rebels countered the Wolfpack on all fronts through rest of the game, and the Rebels went home with the win.
“We tried to make it fast,” Robinson said. “We’re not a big team, but we’re pretty quick. We were probably a little too quick in the first half and at times in the second half. At times in the second half, our big thing is we want to run for a layup then we want to play a good pace and get ball reversals in the half court.”
“We’re getting better,” Hanger said. “As bad as that sounds, we got beat tonight but I truly believe we’re getting better. Our passing has been horrendous to start the year and at least it’s getting better … Everybody hates to lose. These guys don’t like to lose either, but I told them it’s OK as long as we learn from this and move on.”
Kiper led the Rebels and all scorers with 21 points, and Thomas was close behind with 18 points. Schmelz followed with 13 points for the game, hitting from behind the arc four times. South Central was 17 of 49 (35%) shooting with eight of those baskets coming from downtown. The Rebels canned 15 of 19 free throws and had 14 turnovers.
“We got some big shots late off the ball movement,” Robinson said. “Jack Schmelz’s three there pretty much ended everything I think. He missed one early, but it was on the same side. When we get ball reversal with the guys that we have, I think we’re going to have a lot of chance to get drives and get good shots. We don’t care who’s taking the shot as long as we get a good one. You could see it tonight. We made the extra pass a lot ,and this group is willing to do it. It’s a fun team to coach.”
“(Schmelz) was getting some pretty good set shots for them,” Hanger said of the Rebels. “He was a good set shooter but he had to be set. There were times I tried to speed it up a little bit to try to get them out of their rhythm. We changed up defenses three or four times and got a few turnovers out of it, but we weren’t able to capitalize on it on the offensive end.”
Keith Brooks and Davis led the Wolfpack with 10 points each. Crawford County fired in 16 of 42 field goals (38%), hitting 3 of 12 triples. The Wolfpack sank 13 of 18 free throws and had 15 turnovers for the 32 minutes of play.
“We’ve got to understand we’re not trying to re-invent basketball, but we’re kind of re-inventing how we’re going about things,” said the Crawford County coach. “We have to get everybody on the same page and everybody has to be a team. We don’t know who’s going to score tonight for us. We don’t know who’s going to score next week for us. That way everybody’s got to be all in.”
“Our end-of-quarter clock management needs to get better,” Robinson said of his takeaway from the night. “I was real happy how we handled the end of the game; end of quarter, not so much though. We did do better in the third, so we’ve got to get a little bit better about time and scoring and counting numbers in transition a few times in the first half. We attacked when we probably should have started our offense. Those things will come.”
South Central 16 12 12 17 – 57
Crawford County 11 14 10 13 – 48
South Central – Kiper 21, Thomas 18, Schmelz 13, Stewart 3, Cundiff 2.
Crawford County – Brooks 10, Davis 10, Satterfield 9, Nickelson 8, Talley 5, Belcher 2, Conrad 2, Stroud 2.
3-pointers – South Central 8 (Schmelz 4, Thomas 3, Kiper 1); Crawford County 3 (Satterfield 2, Nickelson 1).