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Wolfpack hammer Hornets, 82-46

Class 2A Crawford County Sectional First Round

March 06, 2013
The Crawford County Wolfpack began their sectional run with a bang last Tuesday night as they overpowered Henryville 82-46 in the opening round of the Crawford County Class 2A Sectional. Crawford County dominated both on the floor and with their sixth-man noise levels to advance to meet Paoli in the semi-final.

Crawford County begins its sectional run with a bang as Brandon Hawkins takes a pass from Ranger Caffrey to hammer in this dunk on the opening play of the Crawford County Class 2A Sectional. Photo by Wade Bell
Henryville came into the game winless in 19 games. Crawford County coach Mike Brown first had to make sure his players and coaches, including himself, didn't overlook the Hornets with expectations of a rematch with the Rams. Paoli beat Crawford County by a single point in the regular season finale.

"If you go out there on the wall and look, there's a practice schedule we were supposed to have yesterday," Brown said. "I made the mistake of coming in here yesterday afternoon at 1 and watching the Paoli game.

"By the time I got done watching it, I just marked it out. I quit watching tape because, until we correct some things effort-wise and physically, there's no reason to prepare for anything. There's no reason to come out and shoot and practice and go through your offense and what defense you're going to play. If our effort's not any better than it was the first 28 minutes of Paoli, it doesn't matter," he said.

"So, normally, I would say that's a little bit of a concern, but when we left here last night, we weren't worried about anybody but us," Brown said. "That's the way it needed to be."

The highlight of the game came on the opening play. Crawford County guard Ranger Caffrey, who was well behind the three-point arc, launched the ball high toward the basket. Senior Brandon Hawkins then came out of nowhere to catch the ball and hammer it in with a two-handed dunk that sent the Crawford County section into a frenzy. The Wolfpack also sank three triples in the period and raced to a 26-12 lead.

"We've started sectionals a lot of different ways, but I don't remember starting one with a dunk," Brown said. "We had an idea what they were going to be playing, and early in the game sometimes you're a little spread out and a little more aggressive because you're excited.

"The best part of that play was Ranger made the perfect pass and Jordan set a good screen. We've been after Hawk all season to dunk that, and he's made a lot of them, but tonight, when you get that adrenaline early, sometimes you get a little higher than you think you are, and it was a good way to start out."

Crawford County's defense took over in the second period. The Hornets turned the ball over seven times and hit just one of 11 field-goal attempts. The Wolfpack screamed in a 21-5 explosion in the period and took a 47-17 lead at halftime. Almost all of the Wolfpack bench saw playing time in the first half.

"In a three-game week, you want to try and stay as fresh as you can," Brown said. "The other part of that was we wanted to make sure our younger guys got some playing time so that, if they can give us a minute or two Friday night, then we can get that out of them without them being as nervous."

The Wolfpack extended their advantage to 66-27 by the end of the third quarter.

With both benches in the game, the Hornets won the final period but could not gain enough to hold back the Wolfpack, who gained the 82-46 victory.

Crawford County had all but two players score, with Caffrey leading the Wolfpack with 17 points, while Ethan McMonigle and Zachary Thomas came off the bench for 14 and 12, respectively. Crawford County hit 31 of 71 field-goal attempts (44 percent), getting 51 points from the their bench. The Wolfpack made 16 of 23 free throws and committed just seven turnovers.

"When you make a basket in the tournament, it's a little different than any other basket that you make during the year," Brown said. "I don't care how it occurs. It's one you remember and it's one that means a little more. We tried to run stuff for everybody tonight so they could get baskets. I thought they all did a pretty good job of taking good shots, going to the offensive boards. That got us some easy ones."

Tyler Collins led the Hornets with 13 points. Henryville connected on 17 of 51 field-goal attempts (33 percent) and seven of 13 free throws. The Hornets committed 16 turnovers.

Brown said his team's regular season outing with the Rams was a physical one and the Wolfpack will need to be prepared for the same thing in the sectional semi-final.

"You're going to have to go to the extremes," he said. "We didn't do that. We didn't respond with any pressure on them until we were down 10 with four or five minutes to go in the game and were more in a panic. Then, we started attacking them the way we should have the whole game. It's like we were afraid to do that. So, we can't be afraid this time."

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