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Forbes leads Lady Pack past NH, 52-35

November 24, 2010
Crawford County junior Ashley Forbes had a career night last Tuesday, hitting for 24 points as the Lady Pack scoured visiting North Harrison in the second annual Shoot for the Cure game. It was a close game for 16 minutes, but the Lady Pack gained the upper hand in the second half to get the 52-35 win.

Crawford County’s Ashley Forbes drives against North Harrison’s Megan Naegele in the first half of the Lady Pack’s 52-35 win. Forbes led Crawford County with a career-high 24 points. Photo by Wade Bell
"We covered the things we needed to cover," North Harrison coach Hal Pearson said. "We've just got to score. That's our whole thing. Defensively, we were fine. We had to open up a little to try to play catch-up at the end. That's actually when (Crawford County's Chelsea) Jellison got some of her looks in the fourth quarter."

"I think it goes back to talking about maturity," Crawford County coach Alan Cox said. "I think our schedule is just like it was last year. There was not a team we can't beat, and there's not a team that can't beat us. We've played already in three games this year we would not have won this time last year."

"The year of maturity has really helped these girls," Cox said. "I was really proud of our girls and how we've played. It was a total team effort tonight. Our scoring, we had three girls in double figures and we had six girls that scored. That's a good sign."

Both teams had trouble finding the basket early and played to an 8-all tie in the first quarter.

North Harrison's Amanda Hartley scored inside to start the second period, but Kayla Toney, Jellison and Forbes countered with an 8-1 run to give the Lady Pack a 16-11 lead. Cassie Crawford answered with a Lady Cat three.

The Lady Pack then pushed their lead to six, but Hayley Renneker and Crawford pulled North Harrison to within two, 20-18, at halftime.

Crawford County was 8 of 27 from the field in the first half, with most of those shots coming from Forbes. Despite her poor shooting, the junior had nine points in the two quarters.

"There were no surprises other than how poorly Ashley Forbes shot the ball the first half, because I know everybody in the gym probably thought, 'Why is that girl shooting the basketball?' " Cox said. "But I tell you what, she hasn't missed very often, and that's why we tell good shooters to keep shooting the basketball."

"If you look at layups that were missed, I know we missed four or five in the first quarter alone," said Pearson, whose team was 6 of 22 from the field in the first half. "I'm not talking even contested layups. I'm talking turning and missing. We missed a lot of bunnies."

Jellison converted on two Lady Cat turnovers early in the third period to give Crawford County a 24-18 edge, but a short time later drew her fourth foul.

The Lady Pack maintained that margin until four unanswered points from Rebekah Stephenson and Emily Giles pulled North Harrison to within one, 28-27. The Lady Pack had an answer, however, as they finished the period with an 8-0 burst to lead 36-27 with one quarter left.

"We called a time-out," Cox said, "and we told our kids that, 'Hey, so Chelsea's sitting here on the bench. Do you really think with the group we've got here that we really can't compete with the group that they've got out there?' Our kids, I think, kind of took that to heart and then went out and continued to play hard."

The Lady Pack began to pull away early in the fourth period, with Forbes and Jellison drilling threes for a 42-28 lead.

North Harrison made a final 7-1 burst to pull within eight, but Crawford County scored the final nine points of the game, including seven from Forbes, to take the 52-35 win.

"The second half, we just didn't attack very much offensively out of the halfcourt set," Pearson said. "We had one option that we looked at, and we didn't look at anything else. I thought we played scared at times. I don't think we played with a lot of confidence or attacked very well or executed. We never ran the offense."

"We did pick up the pressure a little bit with our press," Cox said. "One thing I was happy about was, for the most part, we stayed out of foul trouble. We only committed 13 fouls. I'm hoping that's the difference between our team this year and last year. Last year, we finished up the season putting a lot of pressure on the basketball but we fouled a lot."

Besides Forbes' 24 points, Jellison finished with 12 and Toney had 10. Crawford County was 19 of 52 (37 percent) from the field and 8 of 14 from the free-throw line. The Lady Pack had 20 turnovers.

"I can't speak for Hal, but I'm sure after seeing our box scores and seeing how we've played this year, he's trying to take the two-headed monster, Chelsea Jellison and Kayla Toney, away," Cox said. "Fortunately, I'd like to think we're a three-headed monster with Forbes. He gave her the shot, and it paid off for him the first half, but it finally came back to bite him in the butt a little bit the second half."

"She hurt us, but, in the same means, it was the two people that were averaging 20 a game that weren't hurting us," Pearson said. "They had two and six at halftime. You have to give somewhere and take somewhere, and we covered the things we wanted to cover."

Crawford led the Lady Cats (1-2) with 10 points. North Harrison was just 11 of 47 (23 percent) from the field and 10 of 16 from the charity stripe. The Lady Cats finished with 23 turnovers.

"We're averaging 24 or 25 turnovers a game, so it's no surprise," Pearson said. "The thing is, our turnovers are really off a press-breaker or a press-breaking situation. It's after we break the press and our decision making after that. Even tonight, we had people under the basket, wide open in instances, and we just fumbled out of bounds or dribbled off our knee and other things."

"We've got to get back offensively," he said. "We need to pick up our practices. Our practice yesterday was terrible. It was terrible before the Jeff game and, usually, that translates over a little bit, too."

The win improved Crawford County's record to 3-0, but Cox said his team is a long way from being perfect.

"Our record may be perfect, but we're far from a perfect team right now," Cox said. "We know that, and the beauty about it is my kids know that, too. This is a really coachable group of kids, and I consider myself very fortunate to be around these kids."

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