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Lady Panthers send Crawford packing

Mitchell Girls' Sectional

February 13, 2008
Crawford County came into the Mitchell Sectional last Wednesday with the best record of the seven teams, but one of its five losses had come at the hands of its opponent, Corydon Central.

Crawford County's Shelby Holt fights to keep possession of the ball despite some heavy pressure by Corydon Central's MacKenzie Dyer. (Photo by Wade Bell)
With Meghan Bussabarger back after sitting out three games with a back injury and Bridgett Decker back after nursing an ankle injury since the first of the season, Corydon controlled nearly the entire game, again earning the win, this time 49-38.

"We've got to really go after things, because we're not very big," Crawford coach Eric Toney said. "Corydon's got, at every position, except one, a bigger person than we do. We're not great people to block out, but there are many times when we go after the ball. A rebound is like a loose ball. You've just got to go after it. We didn't do that in the intensity that we needed to."

Neither team got off to a great start, as both turned the ball over and missed shots in the first three minutes. Kacey Cox finally got Crawford on the board and Chelsey Barron knocked down a three for a 5-0 Crawford lead. That evaporated in a hurry, however, as Mackenzie Dyer swished a three and Jenna Keinsley converted on a Crawford turnover to tie the game.

Keinsley scored three more to push Corydon's lead to four, but Kim Holzbog got a late deuce that pulled Crawford within two, 9-7, after one quarter.

Jolanna Stiles got a putback early in the second for an 11-7 Lady Panther advantage. Chelsea Benham later countered with a three-ball, pulling Crawford within one. It was the Lady Pack's last basket of the half, however, as Corydon finished out the last six minutes with a 6-0 run to take a 17-10 lead at halftime.

"The thing we focused on before the game started was how important rebounding was going to be," Toney said. "We started out the first half, we were down 18-6 on the boards, and eight of those were offensive rebounds that several of them they turned into easy baskets."

Corydon spent most of the third quarter taking the ball inside, as the Lady Panthers scored their first 10 points in the paint. Dyer added a three, and Corydon's lead ballooned to 30-16 in a 13-6 run.

Benham got a Lady Pack deuce, then both teams went dry until the last minute when Barron scored inside. Bussabarger quickly countered, and the Corydon advantage was 32-20 with eight minutes left.

Corydon began the fourth quarter with a 6-2 burst to lead 38-22. Crawford had one more run in it midway through the period and pulled within seven, 43-36, following a Barron three-point play with 2:06 to go.

However, Corydon spread the ball from that point, putting an end to any momentum Crawford might have built and going on to the 49-38 win.

"We're not a team that comes back well," Toney said. "For three years, we've not done that in situations where we've needed to. The game was lost in the first half by how we rebounded and how we did not convert on opportunities. We made some turnovers that took us out in what we wanted to do."

Benham led the Lady Pack (15-6) with 17 points, and Barron followed with 10 points before fouling out. Crawford was just 17 of 50 (34 percent) from the field and made only 1 of 3 free-throw attempts. The Lady Pack committed 15 turnovers.

"In the second half we missed a lot of opportunities," Toney said. "We didn't shoot well. We had a lot of good looks. We had some steals that we couldn't convert that were layups. We had some point-blank shots that we just didn't get to go. You combine that with some other things I alluded to and we're just going to beat a very good team if we don't do those things."

"We just don't have the margin for error to allow that," he said. "That was one of the keys I wrote up on the board. That was number one, and we didn't do it and we're down seven at the half. There were some other things we didn't do particularly well."

Bussabarger led Corydon (13-8) with 17 points, and Keinsley followed with 12. The Lady Panthers didn't shoot that well either, hitting 13 of 34 (38 percent) from the field, but they made up for it at the line, hitting 20 of 27 free throws. Corydon made 16 turnovers.

Crawford graduates seniors Barron and Megan Laswell and also manager Chase Smith.

"Chase Smith has been with us for three years as manager," said Toney, who praised the job Smith has done. "He's been very professional and very responsible."

"Megan Laswell has been a part of Crawford County basketball since she was a freshman," he said. "I remember her when she was in junior high. She became a JV starter, and she's shown a lot of improvement. She stuck it out and has had a great attitude.

"Then, Chelsey Barron, I don't know of anyone who has put more of her heart and soul into Crawford County basketball than Chelsey has over her four year career," Toney said. "She's been a four-year point guard over the last three years. She's been part of 51 victories. We wouldn't have won very many of those had she not been a large part of those."

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