Lady Pack advances past Austin
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The Crawford County girls’ basketball team began its sectional run last Tuesday night against the Lady Eagles of Austin and had to fight off a second-half charge to advance into the semi-finals of the Eastern (Pekin) Class 2A sectional. There were big moments by multiple players as Crawford County moved into the next round of the tournament.
“I think they had confidence coming in,”said Crawford County coach Chris Broughton. “They just had some bad breaks that could really change our season. When you look at our conference, Paoli beats us by two. (Springs) Valley beats us on a last-second shot, and Orleans hits a last-second shot to force overtime. If those three games go for us, we’re conference champions. Those three could go either way. So, I think our kids knew if we played with confidence, we’re a good team. You can’t look at our record, and I think they played that way tonight.”
The first half belonged to Crawford County junior Sarah Stutzman.
Crawford County took an early lead, but Austin countered with baskets from Mallory Buckel and Mayci Furnish to go in front. Stutzman then went on a rage, taking over the paint to score eight straight points for a 12-5 first-quarter advantage.
Taylor Herbaugh and Riley House added to that run in the start of the second quarter. Furnish scored inside for the Lady Eagles, but Stutzman fired in a three. Austin got a pair of baskets from Sara Robbins. The Lady Pack finished out the half with a 7-2 run to lead 27-11 at the break.
“They really executed the game plan well,” Broughton said. “I was really proud of how they did that. Give big credit to Autumn Schigur. She filled up the stat box tonight. She had double-digit rebounds, eight points, six assists. She was everywhere. She doesn’t get a break. She doesn’t come out. She has the most experience on our team, and she played like it tonight.”
Crawford County kept its lead in double-digits through most of the third quarter, but Stutzman was hit with her third foul. In the last minute of the quarter, Erin Lee drilled an Austin three and Kendall Smith hit a jumper to close the gap to nine.
Austin continued that run into the fourth with Furnish again scoring inside and Robbins drilling a three to close the gap to four. Tasha Wiseman countered inside for the Lady Pack, igniting a 14-5 run for the 48-37 win.
“They cut it to 33-29, and that’s the moment of the game,” said Broughton. “I told them, ‘This is it right here.’ Every game where we’ve let teams come back, it’s been this part of the game where we’ve broke … We came out of that timeout and we moved the ball and Tasha Wiseman caught a tough pass on the baseline and stuck it in, and that’s a big senior moment for us. That gave us a little breathing room at six, and then I think some of the pressure went away from us.”
Stutzman led the Lady Pack with 21, and Herbaugh followed with 11. Crawford County was 17 of 55 from the field (31%) and 11 of 14 from the stripe. The Lady Pack had 15 turnovers.
Broughton said Stutzman’s third foul could have been disastrous, but the bench took up the slack.
“They went on a little run when that happened,” he said. “We could have played her. I was trying to buy as much time as possible. Give our other kids credit for coming in and weathering the storm while she was out. It’s not like we had a big focus trying to go into Sarah. She just played tonight. She got all of hers because of her and her teammates.”
Misti Kimberlin led Austin with 10. The Lady Eagles canned 14 of 50 from the field (28%) and made 5 of 8 free throws. They had 13 turnovers for the game.
“We just tried to talk them through situations,” Broughton said. “They’re going to foul. We’ve got to be strong. We’ve got a timeout; if you get in trouble, use it. I thought the kids, pretty much all night, took it from the huddle to the floor and did a good job of that.”
Austin 5 6 13 13 – 37
Crawford County 12 15 6 15 – 48
Austin – Kimberlin 10, Furnish 9, Robbins 7, Smith 4, Lee 3, Buckel, 2, Hargrave 2.
Crawford County – Stutzman 21, Herbaugh 11, Schigur 8, House 5, Wiseman 2, Mauck 1.
3-pointers – Austin 4 (Furnish 1, Kimberlin 1, Lee 1, Robbins 1); Crawford County 3 (House 1, Schigur 1, Stutzman 1).