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Foul night for Crawford at Forest Park

December 31, 2008
It was a foul night both inside and outside of the Forest Park gymnasium as the Crawford County Lady Pack, with their two best shooters on the bench in foul trouble, fell to the Lady Rangers, 52-45 on an icy Tuesday, Dec. 23.

Crawford County's two leading scorers, Chelsea Jellison, second left. and Chelsea Benham, right, spent much of the night in foul trouble in the Lady Pack's 52-45 loss to Forest Park. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"We've lost four in a row," Crawford coach Eric Toney said. "We didn't expect to win all of these four because they're tough, but we didn't expect to lose all of them either. We're just a short ways, really, of winning three of those. All of them have been close. The things we're not doing very well are things we have to correct, and I think they're things we can correct."

"I thought we did a good job defending," Forest Park coach Marty Niehaus said. "We were able to hit some key buckets when we had to. That's what it really came down to."

Crawford hit three of its first five shots to take a 7-2 lead. Carolyn Pellman and Chelsea Jellison later added a pair of deuces, and the Lady Pack lead jumped to 12-4. Forest Park gained only slightly, and Crawford led 13-6 after eight minutes.

"We started out defending in our zone, and right off the bat Jellison hit a three and got another easy bucket somewhere and we seemed a little rattled with the press," Niehaus said. "We were operating a little too fast."

Fouls began to be an issue for the Lady Pack in the second quarter with Chelsea Benham and Chelsea Jellison each having two.

Forest Park also picked up its defense, allowing just seven Crawford shots for the period, the Lady Pack hitting just two.

The Lady Rangers bounced back to take an 18-16 lead following a deuce by Amanda Braunecker.

In the last 30 seconds of the half, Jellison picked up her third and fourth fouls, and the Lady Rangers took a 23-20 lead to the locker room.

"That was my mistake of not getting her out of there immediately," Toney said of Jellison's fourth foul. "One defensive play there cost us. It ended up hurting us not as bad as it could have, but it was a blunder."

"We need to learn to play without people," Toney said. "When we're playing without both of them, then that does put us in a bind. I was disappointed in we got in a hurry so much."

"That gave us a little break there," Niehaus said of Jellison's fouls. "She didn't play any of the third quarter, so that was kind of a respite. We could go to a less aggressive defense and get some kids some rest."

Benham drew her third foul early in the third period, leaving Crawford's two leading scorers on the bench. Forest Park quickly pushed its advantage to 36-25, but Mary Bolin got a late deuce to keep the Crawford deficit in single digits with one quarter left.

Benham and Jellison both were back in the game to start the fourth quarter, and Benham quickly scored four points, pulling Crawford within five. The Lady Rangers followed with a 6-2 burst to lead by nine.

Crawford followed with a 10-2 run, pulling back within one with two minutes to go. It was as close as Crawford would get, however, as Forest Park finished with an 8-2 run for the 52-45 win.

"The 'E' for effort was accomplished," Toney said. "The 'E' for execution, there's some things we're encountering. We put in some plays just yesterday. We didn't execute them extremely well because we haven't had a lot of time with them, trying to set some picks, double picks, staggered picks, for Chelsea trying to still get her open. We did some, but so often we would travel or do something unforced before we could actually execute the play."

Niehaus said the Crawford fouls allowed her team to do more inside offensively while Crawford had to back off.

"There was one play in particular where we got the ball on the break, Benham got back but she had to let us go," she said. "Right in that one stretch, we were able to get some easy buckets and get a couple of layups and that helped, too."

Benham led Crawford with 13 points, and Jellison finished with 11. Crawford was 15 of 45 (33 percent) from the field and 14 of 20 on free throws. Crawford finished with 26 turnovers.

"We usually are difficult to score on from the other teams' out-of-bounds plays," Toney said, "but tonight we gave up five or six buckets on out-of-bounds plays and in games you get beat five or six points, that's obviously huge."

Braunecker led Forest Park with 14 points, and Amy Wendholt finished with 13. Beth Lampert and Sarah Hopf each had 10 for the Lady Rangers, who were 21 of 43 (48 percent) from the field and 12 of 14 from the stripe. Forest Park finished with 30 turnovers.

"We did have a couple of turnovers and more empty possessions where we didn't get a good look at the bucket," Niehaus said. "We couldn't cash in, just a couple of free throws here and there. We just allowed them to chip away, chip away a little bit. I was just real happy to hang in there."

"The fact that we're 6-6 is not where we want to be," Toney said. "We're not getting people to step up much from the other scoring from their other positions, and we're having difficulty getting shots from the people we depend on, so we've got to work through that. That's kind of where we're at mid-season. We're not exactly where we want to be, but we're not that far away if we can just tone up a few things."

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