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Crawford holds off Commodores, 51-40

February 11, 2009
The Crawford County Wolfpack kept their hopes alive in the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference race last Tuesday night, holding off Perry Central in the second half to earn a 51-44 win. Heroics on both ends of the floor made the game a typical Crawford-Perry battle.

Crawford County's Dustin Bowling, left, and Perry Central's Reuben Schwartz get together for a bit of a tango after Bowling knocked the ball away in the first half of the Wolfpack's 51-44 win. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"This is a big win," Crawford coach Mike Brown said. "It keeps us in the conference race, and it's a tough place to play and a difficult team to defend. They are about as hard to guard as we are. They've got post guys who can step out and shoot the three and and guards who can penetrate, which is almost identical to us."

"I thought our effort was pretty good," Perry coach Matt Carter said. "We played hard. We didn't play smart all the time. We had too many careless turnovers and our rebounding has got to get better, if we're going to compete with the rest of the teams on our schedule."

The Commodores took a 5-0 lead, but the Wolfpack bounced back with an 11-0 run to lead by six after one quarter.

Perry struggled from the field in the first half, hitting just 6 of 19 attempts. That allowed Crawford some breathing room as the Wolfpack extended their lead to 27-16 at the break.

In the third quarter, the momentum changed as Crawford's shooting went sour. While the Wolfpack connected on just 3 of 13 field-goal attempts, Perry closed to within four, 34-30, by the end of the period.

Reuben Schwartz drilled a three for the Commodores to start the fourth quarter to close the game to one. Both teams misfired on their next attempts, then Alex Rogier scored inside to put Perry on top. Jordan Newkirk countered with a deuce for Crawford, but Austin Hauser pushed Perry into a 36-all tie.

Dustin Bowling scored the next four points to put Crawford up 40-36. Schwartz got a deuce to fall in to cut the Commodores' deficit to two. Newkirk then had two big defensive plays, swatting away a three-point attempt by Schwartz and later a putback attempt by Ryan Hanan.

"Jordan loves to play this kind of game," Brown said. "If you get him in an up-and-down-the-floor game, he can really show what he can do. … He can do some things that can really put you on the defensive."

Jonathon Bowles pushed Crawford's lead to six, but the Commodores kept the game tight, with Rogier connecting on a pair of freebies to cut the lead to 45-42. Crawford, however, finished with a 7-2 burst to win by seven.

"I thought our kids did a great job of staying settled," Brown said. "We didn't look panicked. We handled the ball fairly well against their press. If we did anything dumb, it was after we had already broken their press. We forced some things, and things we didn't really need to do."

Bowling led the Wolfpack with 23 points and 17 rebounds. Crawford didn't shoot particularly well from the field, making just 21 of 54 (38 percent) attempts, but the team's 18 offensive rebounds gave the Wolfpack a lot of second and third opportunities. Crawford was 8 of 18 from the free-throw line and committed 18 turnovers.

"Those are huge," Brown said of his team rebounds. "Besides he and Jordan both, I thought Ryan Griffith played really well. He's been struggling some. We've been on him to be more aggressive, and tonight he was very aggressive. He had seven rebounds at halftime."

Schwartz led Perry with 14 points, and Rogier finished with 12. The Commodores shot just 16 of 45 (35 percent) from the field and 9 of 19 from the stripe. They turned the ball over 19 times.

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