Tigers fight off Cougar comeback

The Crothersville girls built up a 37-18 lead by halftime, then held off a furious rally by Trinity Lutheran and finished with a 63-56 win Saturday afternoon.

Tigers coach Kevin Hensley said the first half was one of Crothersville’s best halves of the season.

“We were hitting our shots (shooting 12 for 28),” Hensley said. “We were moving the ball well and not making silly passes like we do some nights. We just got it to the right person, and they got good looks at the basket and knocked down the shots.”

The Tigers started hitting from the outside early as the first basket of the game was a 3-pointer by Alexis Adair.

Adair made another three, while Piper Hensley and Maddie Riley also hit from beyond the arc in the first period to help the Tigers to a 20-13 lead.

When the Tigers weren’t shooting from the outside, Katrina Christian was penetrating Trinity’s defense a lot better than Cougars coach Mike Lang would have liked.

Christian had two baskets and two free throws in each of those periods for 13 points at the half.

“We knew she was going to go left,” Lang said. “When you don’t take the left away and let her to squeeze down the right you’re going to allow her to do what she did. We’ve got to be able to follow scouting reports.”

Adair and Christian made 3-pointers in the second period to help the Tigers to the 19-point lead at the half.

The Cougars stepped up their defensive pressure in the third period, forcing the Tigers into nine turnovers and cut into the home team’s lead.

When Christian scored on Crothersville’s first possession of the third period it gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 39-18.

Maddie Roark had three field goals, and Whitney Rogers and Piper Acton scored two goals apiece as the Cougars outscored the Tigers 22-14 to trail 51-40 going into the fourth.

The Cougars (15-8) went on an 8-1 run the first 2:30 of the fourth and drew to within 52-48 on a basket by Morgan Gabbard.

Lang said he felt like the Cougars did a good job of playing defense to cut its deficit.

“We got it down to four, and then we had some missed block out opportunities, and they got second, third, and fourth opportunities,” he said.

“I’m proud of how hard the kids played in the second half. We’ve got to build upon the second half and figure out how we correct the first half.”

Crothersville regrouped and outscored Trinity 11-8 the remainder of the game to finish the regular season 12-10.

Coach Hensley said he felt like he received some big contributions off the bench.

“I had to start subbing the way needed to to get girls in there that could handle the ball at the right time,” he said. “That is what we needed. It’s a nice win, but it’s the next wins that matter. I was proud of everybody.”

Christian topped the Tigers with 23 points, and Roark had the same total for the Cougars.

Acton topped all rebounders with 10, while Hensley, Abby Jewell and Christian had 7 each for Crothersville.

Both teams now turn their focus toward the Borden Sectional.

Trinity and Orleans will open the sectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and Crothersville will play the winner of that game at 6 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.