|Students in the Crawford County booster section do their best to distract Mitchell's David Embry during the Wolfpack's first-round win over the Bluejackets. (Photo by Wade Bell)|
Crawford takes sting out of Bluejackets
Crawford County Sectional First Round
March 11, 2009
During the warm-up period of Crawford County's first-round game against Mitchell at the Crawford County Sectional, the Bluejacket student section reminded the Wolfpack student section that Mitchell won the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference championship. Crawford head coach Mike Brown also reminded his team of that fact.
"We reminded them about conference," Brown said. "There was a bit of a revenge factor there."
The Bluejackets may have sealed their own fate by giving the Wolfpack some extra incentive as some second-half heroics allowed Crawford to come back from a double-digit deficit and earn a 62-58 win to advance into the semi-finals.
Mitchell established an 11-4 lead in the first quarter, but buckets by Jordan Newkirk and Kyle Roberts pulled the Wolfpack within three. Dwayne Eubanks drilled a Mitchell three-ball, but Crawford closed within one as Newkirk scored inside and Daniel Allen hit from beyond the arc.
Eubanks scored inside, but Crawford's Isaac Bowles swished a three to tie the game. Evan Sanders found an open door for the Bluejackets with a second left, and Mitchell had an 18-16 lead after one quarter.
Eubanks swished another three to push the Bluejacket lead back to five at the start of the second period. Crawford later countered with an 8-1 burst to give the Wolfpack a 26-24 edge following a three by Daniel Allen.
Following three ties, David Embry swished a three and Tyler Guthrie got a deuce-and-one to push Mitchell in front, 37-31. Andrew Curl pulled Crawford back with an old-fashioned three and then a deuce in the paint, but Mitchell led by one, 37-36, at halftime.
Mitchell had a big third period, outscoring the Wolfpack 19-9 to take a 56-45 lead and giving Crawford fans reason for concern. The fourth period, however, was when everything changed.
The first heroics came from Dustin Bowling, who buried back-to-back threes to pull the Wolfpack within five, 56-51, sending the Crawford crowd into a frenzy that forced the Bluejackets to call time out.
After both teams missed scoring opportunities, Bowling was called for a foul, setting up Mitchell for an under-the-basket inbounds play.
Crawford's defense forced Mitchell to go long to Tyler Guthrie. Crawford's Curl stretched to knock the ball in the air to force the Bluejacket turnover. Curl got the ball to Jonathon Bowles, who pulled the Wolfpack within three.
"I felt at that point we were going to win the ball game," Brown said.
Mitchell managed only one basket in the period, a David Wintczak score inside, as Crawford outscored the Bluejackets 17-2 to get the 62-58 win, which Curl secured with a free throw with 26 seconds left.
"We didn't panic," Brown said. "We've had a lot of close games this year, and that has really helped this team learn to handle those situations."
Bowling led Crawford with 18 points, and Curl followed with 10. Crawford was 25 of 52 (48 percent) from the field and 9 of 14 from the free-throw line. The Wolfpack committed just 12 turnovers.
"He's been sick all day," Brown said of Curl. "He definitely had the play of the game down there when he forced that turnover."
Eubanks led Mitchell with 17 points, and Wintczak finished with 14. Guthrie and Sanders each had 11 for the Bluejackets, who were 20 of 48 (41 percent) from the field, including just one of nine in the fourth quarter, and 9 of 10 from the stripe. Mitchell turned the ball over 16 times.
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