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Pirates' 2nd quarter surge ousts Wolfpack

March 05, 2008
The Charlestown Pirates used a big second quarter surge, along with their experience and size, to shipwreck the Crawford County Wolfpack, 85-68, in the bye round of the North Harrison Sectional Friday night.

Crawford County senior Bo Benham (20) slides under Charlestown's Stephen Grayson in the first half of the Wolfpack's 85-68 loss in the North Harrison Sectional. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"We felt pretty good about where we're at, but a team that size, especially with my young post players, they just wear on you," Crawford coach Mike Brown said. "They know how to get inside of you. We did a good job of being inside of them, but we didn't do as good of job blocking them back."

The opening minutes saw a tight game, then Jordan Copeland got a deuce-and-one for a 10-5 Pirate lead.

Daniel Allen came off the bench to sink a three-pointer, closing the gap to two, but Chris Chastain countered with his own three-ball. Clayton Merschbrock got five straight points to push the Charlestown lead to 21-12.

Dustin Bowling kept Crawford in the hunt, however, sinking a deuce-and-one to shrink Crawford's deficit to six after one quarter.

"What we planned to do was to put three guys around the basket and not let them inside that triangle," Brown said. "We put one on (Zach) Merschbrock and one on somebody else, and invite the third guy to shoot. We didn't feel like they had enough outside shooters with that starting lineup that we couldn't gamble a little bit inside.

"At the end of the first quarter we should have been ahead. We missed enough foul shots to be ahead, and we missed a few bunnies where we should have made three-point plays."

The second period proved disastrous for the Wolfpack as Charlestown began the eight minutes with a 10-0 run for a 31-15 lead.

Bowling got two singles for Crawford, but the Pirates added to their lead with a 7-2 burst, highlighted by a Bryan Williams three-pointer. Ryan Griffith got a deuce for the Wolfpack, but the Pirates responded again, this time with a 6-3 run for a 44-24 lead at halftime.

Crawford County's Jonathon Bowles has this shot knocked away as he is doubled by two Charlestown defenders.
"In the second quarter we had two fouls on the big guy and took him out of the game, so now we're more evenly matched than we would have been," Brown said. "At one time they brought a JV guard in as an extra shooter just so we had to cover somebody."

"Our game plan was pretty good," Brown said. "I thought our kids did a really good job with it. … We didn't keep them off the glass like we needed to. Nobody else has either. We were trying hard."

The Pirates continued their domination in the third quarter, pushing their lead to 56-29 following a Chastain three-ball. Crawford fought back and gained some ground in the last minute and a half, as Edwards sank two free throws then Jonathon Bowles got a single on an intentional foul by Chad Brady. Bowles got a deuce-and-one on the following possession, and Crawford's deficit was under 20, 62-43.

The Pirates, however, finished out the period with a 6-2 burst for a 68-45 advantage.

"We just had some situations there where it could have gone down to 16 and would have been manageable," Brown said. "Now, you're looking at 20-something and you're not going to come back on them down 20."

Crawford had one last run in the last minutes of the game, outscoring Charlestown 12-2, resulting in the final 85-68 score.

"The second quarter just killed us," Brown said. "Right there at the end of the quarter, we didn't drop on the zone once and they got a layup and then we come down and turn the ball over and foul a guy on a three-point shot, which you can never do."

"I was really pleased with how we played the second half," he said. "We battled hard. We got more of the rebounds and more of the loose balls and took the ball to the basket a lot better."

Edwards, who sank four three-pointers, and Bowling led the Wolfpack (5-16) with 14 points each, and Bowles added 11. Crawford was 21 of 49 from the field (42 percent), connected on 18 of 29 free throws and made just 12 turnovers. The Wolfpack bench contributed 37 points.

"Ean can hit those all day long," Brown said of Edwards. "It's easier for us to find him and for him to get open if we're up and down the floor. It hurts us some, because we're not as quick on defense when we're trying to press. It's kind of catch-22. We want to put him in there, but at the same time we don't want him to give up points on the other end. He played hard tonight. He did a nice job of finding the holes and hit some big shots for us and just got our feet moving.

"When you've got young guys and things aren't going great, a three here or there or a three-point play here or there means a lot. Everybody just gets a little fired up and the younger kids think they can get something done. A lot of it is just between the ears."

Clayton Merschbrock led the Pirates (19-3) with 21 points, while Zach Merschbrock finished with 13. Chastain added 12 for Charlestown, who hit 28 of 59 shots (47 percent) and 20 of 29 free throws. The Pirates got 30 points off their bench.

Brown said Charlestown had more than just size and quickness.

"They're smart," he said. "We'd block them out them in the middle, and they'd go baseline and come out under the basket and rebound. You can tell their three big guys inside have played a lot of high school basketball and know more about it than just running to a spot. On the other hand, our younger post guys are just running to spots. We're not to that point yet."

Brown said his seniors have played under difficult conditions and have helped bring the younger players along in their game.

"Our seniors have been in a bad spot from the very beginning. … Three systems, three ways of guys handling them and trying to play them," he said. "I'm really proud of how they've handled it, because they've worked and stayed with us even when we weren't winning."

"At the same time, we've got a lot of young guys that are going to be good players that we need to get playing time for," Brown added. "We tried to balance that out a little bit. Even tonight, we tried to balance it out.

"To their credit, they stayed with us and worked hard, kept their nose in it and tried to do everything we asked to the very end. That's a credit to them," he said. "They didn't have a good year this year as seniors, but it's like we told them, life is like this a lot, so sometimes things don't go your way and it's how you battle back from those things that make or break you. I'm pretty pleased with them."

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