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Lady Pack wake up in 2nd half to top SC


January 11, 2012
Crawford County girls' basketball coach Alan Cox had a bad feeling about his team's game with visiting South Central Thursday night. The warm-up session wasn't going like it should have been, and Cox saw a rough beginning to the game for his team.

"We talked to our girls all week about how hard it is to beat a team two times in a row," said Cox, whose team had beaten the Lady Rebels the week before in the Floyd Central Shootout. "I don't think some of them believed us, because I could tell in the warm-ups exactly how we were going to start that game. … We had no emotion in warm-ups. We weren't taking things seriously."

QUALTERS
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Crawford County’s Arianna Qualters tries to get a hand up on South Central’s Kelsey Miller in the second half of the Lady Pack’s 63-43 win. “She came in, and I think she found a little weakness on Kelsey Miller,” Crawford County coach Alan Cox said. Photo by Wade Bell
After a little halftime chat, however, the Lady Pack responded for a 63-43 win.

The first quarter was a slosh-fest by both teams, with Crawford County turning the ball over six times and South Central coughing it up eight times. Crawford County hit just 4 of 11 shots, while the Lady Rebels managed just 3 of 13 from the field, as the Lady Pack held a 12-8 edge after one quarter.

One thing South Central was doing well was rebounding, but getting the ball in the basket was a different story.

Both teams cut their turnovers down in the second quarter, but their shooting didn't improve. Crawford County hit just 3 of 13 shots, while South Central got 5 of 12 to fall through the hoop. The Lady Pack did manage to get to the free-throw line more and cashed in enough for a 25-19 lead at halftime.

At that point, Cox said he had to give his team the kind of wake-up call he doesn't like giving.

"I was probably pretty animated and boisterous at halftime," he said. "I just told them we're going to have to refund everybody's money back because what these fans are watching what we play is not worth the admission to see."

"We couldn't have played worse than what we played in the first half," Cox said. "I knew it was coming. … I told them I know we're a young and inexperienced team and we have to learn those things, but we need to quit using it as a crutch. It's time for us to grow up a little bit."

If South Central had any chance to turn the game around, it ended in the third period. Mandi McLain scored the first seven points of the period for a 32-19 Crawford County lead. Then, Mary Bolin followed with a three-ball as the Lady Pack put together a 17-3 ambush for a 42-22 cushion.

South Central had a small 7-2 burst near the end of the period to slightly close its deficit to 49-33 with one quarter to go.

Kelsey Miller scored inside to pull the Lady Rebels within 14 at 49-35, but Crawford County countered with 12 unanswered points to lead 61-35. South Central made one late offensive run but could not overcome its deficit as Crawford County went on to win, 63-43.

"It was a different bunch in the third quarter," Cox said. "I'm really, really proud of those girls, the way they responded. On the other hand, that first half, I'm not real happy with them, because we had an excellent week of practice. … But I think our kids thought we beat them 13 last time and we won't have to work very hard."

Bolin led Crawford County (5-9) with 16 points, and Chelsea Jellison followed with 13. McLain finished with 11 points for Crawford, which hit 23 of 57 field-goal attempts (40 percent) and 11 of 23 free throws. The Lady Pack had 17 turnovers.

"I really thought Mandi did a good job finishing shots and taking a hit at the same time," Cox said. "Before Christmas this year and last year, if you just looked like you were going to touch her, she just panicked and got her body all contorted where there wasn't any type of shot at all. She went to the basket strong, anticipating and looking for the contact."

Miller led South Central (3-10) with 19 points, and Samantha Turner finished with 11. The Lady Rebels connected on 16 of 47 shot attempts (34 percent) and 8 of 14 free throws. South Central had 24 turnovers.

Cox said senior Arianna Qualters played a big part in Miller not scoring more than she did.

"I thought Ari came in and had her best game of the season this year," he said. "She came in, and I think she found a little weakness on Kelsey Miller. Kelsey is an excellent player, and she can go right or left, but Ari really tried to take the right-hand side away from her. I think it was just enough to mess with her a little bit."

"We've really gone to basic fundamentals in our practices," Cox said. "For about the last four weeks, all we've been doing almost every day is station drills, a lot of shooting and finishing of shots, and we need that. We just couldn't put the ball in the basket. It doesn't matter what offense you run, if you can't put it in the basket, it's not going to look very good."

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Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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