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Lady Rangers crush Crawford


December 28, 2011
Crawford County found itself mired in mud Tuesday night, Dec. 20, as visiting Forest Park had its way in every aspect of the game, crushing the Lady Pack, 56-32, before Christmas break. For Crawford County, the loss was a step back from the progress the team had made earlier in the year.

"Right now, we're in a position we have to focus on what we do," disappointed coach Alan Cox said of his team. "Right now, the girls aren't responding to me, and I'm frustrated with it. We've just got to keep battling."

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Crawford County’s Chelsea Jellison picks Amanda Jacob’s pocket in the first half, but the Lady Rangers held Jellison to just seven points in Forest Park’s 56-32 win. Photo by Wade Bell
Forest Park began with a 6-2 burst for the initial lead, but Crawford County bounced back to close within one when Mandi McLain got a deuce-and-one and Tylynn Allen converted off of a Forest Park turnover. The Lady Rangers, however, finished the quarter with a 7-2 burst for a 15-9 lead.

Forest Park started the second period with a 10-2 run to lead 25-11. Crawford County's leading scorer, Chelsea Jellison, got her first basket of the game late in the period, but Sami Hopf countered, and the Lady Rangers went to the locker room with a 27-13 lead at halftime.

Forest Park coach Marty Niehaus said her main defensive focus was Jellison.

"The No. 1 focus was trying to limit her as much as we could," Niehaus said. "After that, we just hoped that our offense would fall into place to get us the buckets we needed. We did a good job of that."

Cox said his team needed to be more physical and to create points.

"The girls need to decide if they're going to get physical or not, because, if we don't decide to step into a body on somebody, we're going to get beat every night out," he said. "We're not going to win a game the rest of the season. So, I'm just going to lay it in their hands and see what they decide they want to do."

Crawford County kept the Lady Rangers from lengthening their lead early in the third period, down 12 following a Jellison deuce, but Forest Park finished the period with an 11-1 run to lead 42-21.

The Lady Pack failed to gain any ground in the fourth and fell by 24 points.

Cox said it was a frustrating night and that his players were going to have to be more aggressive in their play.

"I know we're young but we're 10 games into the season, and it's time for some people to step up," he said. "I've got to find somebody that's willing to set a screen because I'm not a smart enough coach. I don't know any offenses that are going to work unless we learn to screen people. Right now, it doesn't matter what I call, it's not going to work."

Allen led Crawford County (3-7) with eight points, while Jellison was held to just seven. The Lady Pack hit 13 of 32 shots (41 percent) from the field and all five of their free throws. Crawford County had 22 turnovers.

Cox praised Allen for her aggressiveness.

"One positive thing was, I really liked the play of Tylynn Alenn tonight," he said. "I thought she was aggressive. She made some mistakes, but the mistakes she made was because she was being aggressive. It's not because she was lost. It's not because she was timid. I just felt like she came in and did some of the things we need from some of these other girls."

"I thought she made some good decisions," he said. "She does give us a little bit more scoring from what we had from some of the other positions. She's a freshman, and I can live with a few mistakes with a freshman."

Cox said the lack of free throws was attributed to his team's lack of aggressive ness.

"That is two games we have shot free throws better," he said. "Our problem is we're just not getting to the free-throw line because there's not any offense we can run that is going to work until we decide we're going to screen people. We always seem to find the easy way out. Everybody is kind of looking at everybody else thinking they're going to do it for them."

The Lady Rangers (6-3) scored 11 players with Hopf leading the way with 14. Kayla Smith and Kylie Blessinger each had 10 points for Forest Park which connected on 21 of 45 field-goal attempts (47 percent) and 9 of 17 free throws.

"We used a lot of people, and I thought the kids that came off the bench did a nice job," Niehaus said. "We haven't always had that. We're a relatively young team. We've been kind of looking to put the pieces together and develop some consistency, and I thought we made a real nice step in that direction tonight."

The Lady Rangers had 23 points off Crawford County turnovers.

"We were able to capitalize on quite a few of those turnovers, which is a good thing for us because sometimes in half-court offense, we've been known to struggle a little bit," Niehaus said. "I think that gave us a little bit of a spark."

"I thought we did a nice job on Jellison," she said of her team's defense. "You have to do that because there's only a handful of players that have the range that she has and have the quicker release she has. So, we certainly didn't want to lose track of her. I thought we did a nice job of that."

Cox said his team will have to pick its game up during the second half of the season or it will be a long road to the sectional.

"Until we learn to become physical and touch somebody, we're going to get beat 30 and 40 points every night," Cox said. "Right now, nobody is stepping up and taking charge, and nothing is going to work till we decide we're going to get a little more physical and quit taking shortcuts."

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