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Wolfpack dominate Salem, 55-36

March 09, 2011
On Jan. 8, the Crawford County boys' basketball team fell to Salem, 70-56. At the Class 3A Salem Sectional, coach Mike Brown felt that if his team could keep the Lions below 50 points, it would have a chance to advance. Last Wednesday night, the Wolfpack did just that, avenging the earlier loss in a big way by putting Salem out of its own sectional with a 55-36 shellacking.

Crawford County’s Alex Baker fights to squeeze out of a tight spot created by Salem’s Ian Bowling (14) and Andy Nice in the second half of the Wolfpack’s 55-36 first-round sectional win. Photo by Wade Bell
"We wanted to make sure we got to 50 first," Brown said. "We've got to get to 50 first. The way it worked out, we got there and had them in the 30s, and then it was just a matter of holding on under their pressure."

Parker Hudson and Alex Baker raced the Wolfpack to a 9-2 lead in the first period. Salem countered quickly with a 7-0 run to tie, but Eric Harned drilled a three at the end of the quarter to give Crawford County a 12-9 edge.

Crawford County continued to hold a slight edge until Ian Bowling scored inside to put the Lions in front, 20-19. Harned swished another three, and Isaac Bowles added two for a 24-20 Crawford County lead. Zach Bowling scored in the final minute for Salem, and the Wolfpack took a 24-22 edge to the locker room at halftime.

"We wanted to make that lane look like it was clogged up, and our kids did a great job of sagging in there and helping," Brown said. "Isaac Bowles did a really good job on the top, of sagging in and making it tough to throw the ball into (Zach Bowling) and (Ian Bowling), which they did fairly easy the last time we played them. They made some good moves and scored a few on us, but we did a pretty good job of collapsing on them."

Hudson scored two quick baskets to begin the second half for a 28-22 Crawford County lead. Salem's gains were only partial, with Ian Bowling scoring inside with a second left to pull the Lions within five at 34-29.

Crawford County began the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run, which included a technical on the Salem bench, to lead 43-31.

From that point, the quarter and game belonged to the Wolfpack. Crawford County finished the game with 10 unanswered points and moved on to the semi-final.

"For the most part, everything we talked about and went through in our scouting report, our kids came out here tonight and carried out," Brown said. "We had certain guys we were going to guard harder than others. We were going to crowd the paint. We were going to be really patient on offense. We felt like if we made them play defense for six or eight passes, as opposed to three, that we would get a better shot, and we did."

Baker led Crawford County's scoring with 14 points, and Hudson had 13. Jordan Newkirk and Eric Harned finished with 11 points each for Crawford County (18-5), which hit 19 of 39 field goals (49 percent). The Wolfpack were 14 of 23 from the free-throw line and had 11 turnovers.

"We've been on (Baker) all season, and he knows he's going to get a few blocked in there, but we need to get him in there and get him fouled," Brown said. "Tonight, he went in, and he even scored. That can be valuable for us, because, when you're a three-point shooter and you can get in the lane, then you're a lot more dangerous."

Ian Bowling led Salem (13-8) with 14 points. The Lions canned 15 of 39 field-goal attempts (38 percent) and 2 of 4 free throws, while committing 12 turnovers.

"It's just one, and it was a tough one," Brown said. "They're very good, especially since they're the home team. We knocked the home team out. That's all we've really accomplished. … Until it's over, you can't say anything except that you're still playing."

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