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Crawford fends off Cougar attack

February 11, 2009
Crawford County had to fight off a fourth-quarter attack by some hungry North Harrison Cougars Friday for a 70-61 win.

"Everybody has talked all year of how hard they play, and they do," Crawford coach Mike Brown said. "When you've got 10 or 12 kids competing for playing time, you're going to get good minutes out of them as far as the effort goes. We knew we were going to get that."

North Harrison's Chad Eveslage (35) works for a shot around Crawford County's Jordan Newkirk in the second half of the Wolfpack's 70-61 win. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"We're going to play a lot of people, and when they're out there, if they give us three or four minutes as hard as they can go, then someone else can come in and give us those three or four minutes," North Harrison coach Chris Martin said. "I thought tonight we got a lot of minutes out of a lot of people."

The teams swapped the lead early, with North Harrison getting a three-ball from Lincoln Jones for a 12-11 advantage with three minutes to go in the first quarter. Crawford countered, however, with an 11-0 run to lead by double digits, 22-12, at the end of the quarter.

Crawford pushed the lead to 28-14 in the second, but the Cougars fought back as Maverick Becht punched in a pair of deuces and a three-ball to make the score 28-21.

Ryan Griffith answered for Crawford, but Jarod Richards scored inside and Chad Eveslage added a pair of freebies to close the Cougar to five, 30-25.

Jonathon Bowls scored the next four for the Wolfpack. A Dylan Janes' single cut the North Harrison deficit to eight at halftime.

Crawford played much of the half without leading scorer Dustin Bowling, who was hit with his third foul early in the second period.

"From a scoring standpoint, (there was) a lot (of concern) because we go to him every trip down the floor, if we can," Brown said.

Martin, however, knew Bowling would have back-up.

"One of the things (assistant coach) Marc Burgher had told us was the number of kids they've got that can score 15 or more in a game," he said. "Seven or eight of those kids have done that, so, yes, we got him in foul trouble, but we could have used two or three more being in foul trouble."

Crawford had trouble keeping its lead in double digits in the third quarter until Isaac Bowles banged a three for a 43-31 Wolfpack lead. Becht quickly countered with a three for the Cougars.

The Wolfpack lead expanded back to 12, but the Cougars fought back once again, this time with an 8-2 run capped by a long deuce by Devin Southard that closed the North Harrison gap to six. It was the closest the Cougars would get, however, as Crawford held on for the 11-point win.

"Every game is like a little quiz and you learn something from every one," Brown said. "No matter how you cut it, we're a pretty young team with some inexperienced guys. I've got a sophomore and a freshman out there handling the ball on a fourth quarter against a cross-county rival, and we're not too unhappy with the outcome."

"Tonight was our season high in points," Martin said. "Maybe, maybe we're starting to see a couple of things. The week off helped us as much as anything, because it gave us a chance to rest a little bit. It gave us some extra practice time. It gave us a chance to go in and refine a few things."

Newkirk led Crawford with 17 points, and Isaac Bowles followed with 16. Ryan Griffith added 12 for Crawford, who connected on 20 of 44 (45 percent) field-goal attempts and 25 of 35 free throws, while committing just 12 turnovers.

Becht led North Harrison with 13 points, and Southard added 12. The Cougars shot well, hitting 21 of 40 (52 percent) field-goal attempts and 12 of 16 free throws. North Harrison turned the ball over 15 times.

"The guys continued to battle tonight," Martin said. "Every time there's a close play, we'd like it to go our way once, just one time. … Tonight, we had a couple of those plays where a change of the play gives us a better chance of cutting it into a one-possession game. We just didn't get that tonight."

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On Saturday, North Harrison (2-14, 1-6 Mid-Southern Conference) lost at West Washington, 55-37, while Crawford County (10-5, 3-1 Patoka Lake Athletic Conference) defeated visiting Borden 52-40.

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