Crawford falls shorts to West Washington
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The Crawford County Wolfpack put themselves into a sinkhole against the visiting West Washington Senators last Monday night and then had to claw their way back before losing to the Senators 79-66. One really bad quarter proved to be the deciding factor as the Wolfpack dug too deep of a hole to pull their way out from the beginning of the game.
“Effort is the only word you need tonight,” said Crawford County coach Jerry Hanger Jr. “I think we have a good ball team. Our record does not indicate a good ball team, and I’ve thought all year that we didn’t play hard at times. There’s times when we play hard, and there’s times when we don’t. Basketball is a game of four quarters. You can’t take plays off. It’s got to be every play.”
Through the entire first half, the Senators were seeing green as in Parker Green. The West Washington senior had his way against the Wolfpack, drilling shots from all over the court. In the first quarter, Crawford County’s Trevor Harvey and Keith Brooks put in the first two baskets of the night, then Green scored in the paint and later converted off of a Crawford County turnover with his first three-ball. Hanger called a quick timeout, but the Wolfpack turned the ball over twice, allowing Holden Bowsman to score inside and Green banging in his second three.
Noah Adams drove the lane for a deuce-and-one, but West Washington countered with an 8-2 burst, with Green and Lane Hoeffler hitting from behind the arc. Brooks gave Crawford County two with a jumper, but that was smoked by another Senators’ run of eight straight points, with Green getting his fourth and fifth threes of the quarter. When the smoke cleared, and the first quarter clock had run out, the Wolfpack found themselves down 31-13.
“He was wide open,” Hanger said of Green. “Let’s don’t forget he was wide open. West Washington has got a really good ball club. This group has been together since junior high. I remember playing them with Noah and Trevor when we were seventh graders, and they came down here with the Bowsman kid, and they’re tough.”
Crawford County tightened up its game in the second quarter, allowing Green just one three-ball in the eight minutes. The Senators, however, were still scoring inside the arc and hit seven of their 13 shots. Crawford County, meanwhile, managed just six of its 14 shots and went to the locker room with a 19-point deficit, 46-27.
“We’ve had a tendency the last three or four years we’ve let kids hit six, seven, eight three-pointers in a row in a game and nobody wants to step up and do anything about it,” Hanger said. “They know me. I’m all about defense. This year has driven me crazy because our defense has not been very good.”
The third quarter was an evenly matched battle, but the most visible difference was that Green wasn’t getting the shots in the period like he got in the first two. The West Washington senior had just a single point in the eight minutes at the charity stripe. Despite that Crawford County was still unable to gain any ground as the two teams played to a 20-20 tie in the quarter, the Wolfpack was still down 66-47.
“I can’t say enough about Nash Stroud and Clayton Grizzel,” Hanger said of his bench players. “They didn’t know what they were walking into. The kid has 27 in the first half, and that shouldn’t happen. Somebody has to say, ‘I’ve got him. He’s mine. He’s not scoring on me.’ I had that luxury with my brother. He wasn’t going to score on me. That’s just a mentality. We’re trying to build that. We’re trying to get that back, and I thought Clayton and Nash stepped up and took the challenge they didn’t ask for.”
The Wolfpack finally got some traction in the fourth quarter with a 7-3 burst, closing the gap to 69-54. Bowsman stopped that run with a free throw, but Crawford County gained ground again with a 6-3 burst, pulling to within 13, 73-60. With the clock running down, the Wolfpack then found themselves having to foul. The Senators hit 6 of 8 down the stretch, and Crawford County was unable to gain any more ground, losing 79-66.
“I can actually say … I was pleased with (the defense) the second half tonight,” said Hanger. “I can handle that … I’ve got some kids in the doghouse and rightfully so. You can see why. You put the other kids in and they played hard and we cut into the lead. That’s just part of it. It was just all effort, and that’s something we better fix in the next day or two.
“Our goal was to get it to 10, and hopefully we could cut into it a little bit more, 10 by the end of the third,” he said. “I don’t think we made it all the way there, but we gave it a valiant effort.”
Adams led Crawford County with 24 points, and Harvey was right behind with 23 for the night. Brooks added 12 for the Wolfpack, who put in 26 of 67 field goals (39%) and 8 of 14 free throws. Crawford County had eight turnovers for the game.
“He was a man on a mission,” Hanger said of Adams. “He has to be. He shot some forced shots that he shouldn’t have shot, but you can’t fault him. He’s coming out trying to make something happen and trying to get us back in the game. That happens when you play fast. We had to play fast. We were running out of time.”
Green led the Senators with 32 points, getting five free throws in the second half. Bowsman finished with 16, and Lane Hoeffler added 10. The Senators connected on 27 of 47 from the field (57%) and 16 of 27 from the charity stripe. West Washington had seven turnovers.
“They’re a good ball team, but the kid had 27 the first half then turned around the second half and only had five and they were all five free throws,” said the Crawford County coach. “That’s just effort. I don’t know how many shots he actually got, but he didn’t get many. That’s just effort on our end and making some adjustments and saying on our end, ‘Enough is enough’.”
That Monday night was the first of five games for the week. Hanger said his team was using those games as their practice days before this week’s sectional begins.
“It’s plain and simple,” he said. “If they’re not going to play hard, they’re not going to play. That’s the only way we can do it. (The bench) came in ready to go. Our bench is good … Everybody was cheering everybody on, and I can’t compliment them enough but, at the end of the day, we need results and we need the effort.
“The effort has got to be there, and the big show is next week,” Hanger said. “So, again we’ve got to use these practices of these games because that’s the only time we get. If you can’t score more than them, then you better be able to stop them at some point, so we need to play some defense.”
West Washington 31 15 20 13 – 79
Crawford County 13 14 20 19 – 66
West Washington – Green 32, Bowsman 16, Hoeffler 10, Strange 9, Fleck 6, Huff 4, Chase 2.
Crawford County – Adams 24, Harvey 23, Brooks 12, Conrad 3, Higgins 2, Stroud 2.
3-pointers – West Washington 9 (Green 6, Hoeffler 2, Huff 1); Crawford County 4 (Harvey 3, Adams 1).