With their December loss to Jackson County-rival Medora on their minds, the Crothersville boys basketball team looked for vengeance on Saturday.
Tigers coach Greg Kilgore had his team switch to a zone defense in the third quarter, resulting in the Tigers outscoring the Hornets 24-10 to turn a 26-26 halftime tie into a 68-51 win on senior night.
The Hornets downed the Tigers 62-41 on Dec. 5 at Medora.
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“I went into that (Dec. 5) game with the mindset we really had to be cautious of (Kam) Flynn and (Jalen) Beesley because of their shooting,” Kilgore said. “Those two kids can shoot the ball. In the first half tonight, we kind of played it that way because a good shooter, once he gets a couple going, then that rim grows and gets bigger.”
“This is my third year coaching against (Kirk) Stewart, and I told him after the game I’m glad he’s finally a senior because he’s great penetrating and getting the ball in the lane and finding guys.”
The Tigers held a 35-28 advantage in rebounds for the game, including 13-8 in the third period.
Up 31-29, the Tigers then went on a 15-0 run to take a 46-29 lead on a layup from Micah Mains with 3:28 left in the third period.
Jordan Schoenfelder scored nine points, while Eli Mollet and Mains both scored two baskets in the third period.
The first quarter was a scoring battle between Schoenfelder and Medora’s Jalen Beesley.
Schoenfelder had two baskets and two free throws to spark the Tigers to a 16-14 lead. Beesley had two 3-pointers and a deuce.
Chase Booker and Brandon Moore made 3-pointers for the Hornets in the second period when the Hornets outscored the Tigers 12-10 to pull even at the half.
“In the first half I thought we did a better job of being patient on offense, getting a good shot every time, and we kind of slowed the game down a little bit,” Hornets coach Michael Leitzman said. “In the third and fourth quarter they sped us up and we struggled to play at that pace. In the second half we were taking quick shots, which is what they wanted us to do. We were taking such quick shots that we were out of position.”
The Hornets now fall to 6-14 on the season.
“We need patience and I think we need to get more balance,” Leitzman said. “I feel like at times we rely too much on one or two guys to do everything for us. We’ve got to realize it takes all five of us to succeed. We’ve got to cut better, we’ve got to screen better to try to open things up.”
Beesley topped the Hornets with 13 points and Moore added 10. Beesley and Tristan Newcomb led the Hornets in rebounds with seven each.
“We weren’t getting back on defense and that was a huge thing,” Leitzman said. “They were able to leak out and get back and get a lot of easy transition baskets. They hurt us really bad on the offensive glass that third quarter. They hurt us the whole game, but especially that third quarter.”
Schoenfelder led the Tigers (6-15) with a season-high 21 points, Mount added 14 and Mollet scored 10. Mollet and Schoenfelder had nine rebounds each.
“We’ve got two or three kids that just performed better going up and down the floor in the second half,” Kilgore said. “They were coming down the floor looking for shots. (Friday), it was ugly at Henryville. (Friday) we had 29 turnovers, tonight we had 14.
Seniors Schoenfelder, Mount and Clayton Byrd started for the Tigers.
Kilgore said all three have meant a lot to the program.
“It was good for our three seniors to finish tonight with a win,” he said. “Byrd has had a good career, and he’s got a heart as big as a whale. Schoenfelder has more of an athletic kind of body and has had a good career. Mount, in the past two years, has grown into a fine individual, as well as a ball player.”