Paoli upends Crawford County
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer
Just like they did a few nights before against North Harrison, the Paoli Rams ran a slow-paced, patient game Friday night against visiting Crawford County. The Wolfpack, who suffered losses to West Washington, Perry Central and Salem earlier in the week, made their game against the Rams a much more competitive one but still came up short in a nine-point loss.
“The positive thing tonight we saw was the patience,” said Crawford County coach Jerry Hanger Jr. “We played some different guys tonight. I didn’t sub much. I found something that worked. As bad as this sounds, we’ve got to use this as practice, too. We haven’t had time to practice. We found something that worked tonight. We changed our defense two or three times with that group of guys and trying to get them to play together.”
Neither team shot the ball well in the first quarter with the Wolfpack missing their first five shots. Paoli, meanwhile, scored the first nine points of the game. Keith Brooks finally stopped the run with a free throw, but Brett Bosley countered for the Rams, hitting a jumper for an 11-1 lead. Crawford County grabbed a gear in the last two minutes and finished the period with a 7-0 run, with Brooks spiking the ball through the basket to close the Wolfpack deficit to three, 11-8, after one quarter of play.
Brooks converted off a Paoli turnover to start the second period, closing Paoli’s lead to 11-10. Bosley countered with a three, and the two teams traded paint through the next few minutes until Sawyer Livingston fired from downtown and Bosley cashed in a pair of freebies. Chase Satterfield drilled a Crawford County three in return, and the Rams had a four-point edge at the break, 23-19.
“We stuck to the basics and didn’t run a lot of stuff tonight,” Hanger said. “We tried using our size and getting our confidence built up with these guys. It’s going to be a different story next Friday.”
Both teams struggled to score in the third period with each team hitting three field goals and getting no free throws.
Paoli’s lead was still four, 29-25, at the end of the quarter. Paoli turned the ball over on its opening play of the fourth, and Isaac Nickelson drove the lane for two, closing the gap to two, 29-27, with 6:07 to go in the game. Paoli called timeout to talk things over.
The Rams came out of the break into a holding pattern. The Rams misfired twice, then Crawford County called timeout with 4:06 to go. The Wolfpack turned the ball over, but Paoli failed to convert. Crawford County also misfired on its next possession, then Trey Rominger scored inside for the Rams. Brooks negated those two, also scoring inside. Isaac McBride got two in the paint for the Rams, then Crawford County coughed up the ball again.
Rominger scored, giving the Rams a six-point gap, 35-29. With :52.4 seconds left, Brooks fouled out on the next play. The Rams missed the free throws, and Trevor Harvey pulled the Wolfpack back within four, 35-31, and Hanger immediately called timeout with :45.6 to go. Bosley put the Rams back up by six with a pair from the charity stripe. Noah Adams got one of those back, but Rominger and John Moon put in four straight in the remaining seconds, allowing the Rams to get the 41-32 win.
“That was a game we should have won, but Noah Adams is hurting real bad,” Hanger said of his senior who suffered an arm injury against Lanesville on Feb. 20. “He’s hurting. His arm’s hurting. I didn’t want to advertise it that his arm is hurting because if I did, and he’s a competitor, I didn’t want somebody down there coming down and fouling his arm and hurting it any worse than what it is.”
Hanger said he wasn’t unhappy about the slowed-down play.
“That’s fine,” he said. “When I get Noah back, I’ll be able to turn the speed up, but tonight I was OK with that. When he was hurting, I was content to play what we did tonight.”
Harvey led the Wolfpack with 11 points, and Brooks finished with nine on the night. Adams was held to just three points for the game. The Wolfpack canned 12 of 29 field goals (41%) and 4 of 6 free throws. Crawford County had 12 turnovers for the game, seven of those in the first half.
“That was the first quarter, and we had some costly ones about the middle of the third and the beginning of the fourth,” said the Crawford County coach. “I’m not real sure what was going on or what they were trying to do.”
Bosley led the Rams with 13 points. Paoli planted 14 of its 35 field-goal attempts (40%) and 10 of 15 free throws. The Rams had 10 turnovers for the game.
“We can compete with anybody,” said Hanger. “These guy know now they can beat these guys. That was enough for me. It’s a confidence thing. We can beat them.”
Crawford County played a fifth game for the week the following night with Clarksville visiting Ron Ferguson Gymnasium. The Wolfpack led that game early, but the Generals rallied in the second half and gave Crawford County a 61-47 loss.
This week, the Wolfpack gets both a break and some practice time before their Friday night sectional game against the Rams at Paoli.
“We get some practice time,” Hanger said. “We get some film time. We get some time to go back and watch our game with our team. We can show them the places we really need to work on. Then, we can take that out on the floor where they were at and what they were doing and what they need to do. I’m looking forward to it. We got the draw we wanted.”
Crawford County 8 11 6 7 – 32
Paoli 11 12 6 12 – 41
Crawford County – Harvey 11, Brooks 9, Satterfield 5, Nickelson 4, Adams 3.
Paoli – Bosley 13, Moon 7, Rominger 7, Livingston 6, McBride 6, Patton 2.
3-pointers – Crawford County 2 (Harvey 1, Satterfield 1); Paoli 3 (Livingston 2, Bosley 1).