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Crawford holds off Providence, 49-42


November 16, 2011
Crawford County lit up the charity stripe Saturday night against visiting Providence as the Lady Pack cashed in 12 straight free throws to secure a 49-42 win. The Lady Pack bounced back after suffering a 19-point loss in their season opener at Salem a few nights before.

"It was a good win," Crawford County coach Alan Cox said. "We really don't know what to expect sometimes out of some of our kids. It's almost we're in an experimentation stage, what's going to work for us and what's not going to work for us, what people we're going to build on certain positions. We're still finding that out.

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Crawford County’s Chelsea Jellison, right, and Mary Bolin, left, smother Providence’s MacKenzie Wilson to force a turnover in the second half of the Lady Pack’s 49-42 win over the Lady Pioneers. Photo by Wade Bell
"Tonight was a really good game because it was a lot of situational type things to work on in this game, not only for the players but for me as a coach. After you've been off for a whole year, you get a little bit rusty, too."

Providence had the hot hand early, racing to an 8-1 lead with help from two Mackenzie Wilson threes. Crawford County, however, finished the quarter with a 10-0 run with threes from Mary Bolin and Arianna Qualters to push in front, 11-8.

Early in the second period, Crawford County senior Chelsea Jellison escaped Providence's box-and-one defense to bury a pair of three-balls and a deuce. Qualters got a three, as well, and the Lady Pack's lead ballooned to 10 at 22-12.

Providence got one last burst before halftime. Abby Schwartz scored inside then, with a tic on the clock, Mary Graf hit a three to close the gap to 24-19.

Jellison has seen the box-and-one several times in the past, but Cox said this time the senior handled it like she was supposed to.

"This was the first time in her four years of playing that she's handled that, I thought, to perfection," he said. "I didn't see her pout. I didn't see her have a long face at all tonight. I didn't see her rush anything. She let the game come to her and, most importantly, she trusted in her teammates that they were going to step up, and they did step up."

Graf scored inside to cut the Providence deficit to three to begin the third period, but Mary McLain, Brooke Sauer and Bolin countered with deuces to extend Crawford County's advantage back to nine, 30-21.

Providence made another run as Graf scored inside twice and added a pair of free throws to cut the Lady Pack edge to three, 30-27, with one quarter to go.

Jellison and Bolin scored the next four points, but Wilson countered with another three. The two teams traded baskets through the next few minutes, then, with three minutes to go, the game went to the free-throw line.

"At no time did I ever really see any panic on our kids' faces," Cox said. "We just kind of went out and tried to take care of business."

Bolin cashed in the first two following Schwartz's fourth foul, but Nicole Tucker negated those with a deuce. Qualters got two from the stripe, but Morgan Huber got a deuce-and-one to close the gap to two, 41-39, with two minutes remaining in the game.

Jellison and Qualters canned four more freebies, but Wilson counted with her fifth three-ball of the night to close the gap to three once again at 45-42. It would be the Lady Pioneers' final points, however, as Jellison canned four straight free throws in the last 30 seconds to put away the 49-42 win.

"I thought it was an ugly win, but that's OK because I saw improvement and I saw areas we struggled in," Cox said. "We want to win, but winning and losing is not of the utmost importance right now. It's getting ourselves better every time out, getting ourselves in a position at the end of the year to compete for a sectional."

Bolin led Crawford County with 18 points, hitting 9 of 12 free throws, and Jellison was right behind with 17 points, including 6 for 6 from the charity stripe. Qualters had 10 points and was 4 of 6 on free throws. As a team, Crawford County hit 13 of 29 (45 percent) of their field-goal attempts and 19 of 26 free throws. The Lady Pack had 17 turnovers.

"I thought this was the best game Chelsea Jellison has had in the three years I've had her, not in terms of points but in terms of leadership and her demeanor and her competitiveness on the floor," Cox said. "This is the best game I've seen her play in the three years I've coached her. I was really proud of her."

"I'm really proud of her teammates, too, for stepping up," he said. "We make a lot of mistakes right now, and we know that and understand it. We're going to continue to make some mistakes, but our goal is to start eliminating those mistakes each game we go out."

Graf led Providence with 16 points, and Wilson finished with 15 on five threes. Providence connected on 13 of 36 field-goal attempts (36 percent) and 6 of 11 free throws. The Lady Pioneers had 24 turnovers in the 32 minutes.

"Even though we made a lot of inexperienced, silly mistakes tonight, we also, I thought, showed a lot of maturity in a lot of things, too," Cox said. "So, it was a step in the right direction for us, that's for sure. We've got some pretty good teams coming up, so it may get worse before it gets better. Are we going to be there for each other? I think they will be after what I saw tonight with how well they played and how they supported each other as a team. This was a big step forward for us."

"We're excited about the fact we get to go to North Harrison," he said. "We're not even thinking about going up there as far as terms of winning. We're thinking about going up there and becoming a better basketball team and the opportunity to play a good team like North Harrison, especially on their home court. That's going to be a great learning experience for us. I don't know how we'll come out on the scoreboard, but our goal is to go up there and be a better team than we were."

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