Crothersville girls basketball coach Kevin Hensley wasn’t going to have another slow start.
Prior to their final matchup of the Henryville Tip-Off Tournament against Southwestern (Hanover) — their fourth game in five days — Hensley forced the team to come out with a heightened sense of urgency as the Tigers played a matchup press defense.
Story continues below gallery
That tactic paid off.
The Tigers (3-1) busted open an 18-4 lead after eight minutes and held a 42-15 advantage at the half as they ran away with the third-place game in a 67-43 rout.
“Before we left the locker room (at the start), I told them we’ve come out flat our first three games,” Hensley said. “I told them in order for us to not come out flat, we’re going to start pressing right off the bat and get our energy going. That was a lot of it; our energy had to be up to press, and that’s what got us going early on.”
The only time the Tigers trailed was after the opening basket, a field goal from the Rebels’ Kate Sampson.
From the 5:28 to 2:20-mark, the Tigers hit four straight 3-pointers. Senior Kashmir Kelshaw sank two while sophomore Piper Hensley and junior Lacey Hall chipped in one each to go up 12-2.
The Tigers allowed only two free throws the remainder of the quarter.
Crothersville senior Katrina Christian — who made the all-tournament team — went to work in the second quarter, scoring 12 of her game-high 22 points before the half.
In the final four minutes, the Tigers went on an 11-4 run.
At the buzzer, Kelshaw demoralized the Rebels when a 3-pointer hit every bit of iron before going through the net.
The Rebels opened on a 7-0 scoring stretch to start the second half until Christian hit a 3-pointer and followed it up with a steal and score to put the game at 45-23 with 5:15 on the clock.
Hensley added another three as the Tigers led by 23 after 24 minutes of play.
The Tigers went on a 7-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to run away with the game.
Crothersville dominated the glass, outrebounding Southwestern 36-16. Christian finished with 14 boards; fellow senior Madison Reynolds had six.
On top of Christian’s 22 points, Kelshaw scored 13 and Kelshaw totaled 12.
Kaitlyn West led the Rebels with 15 points.
Christian moved into third place on the all-time scoring list for Crothersville this week, bumping her total to 1,123. She needs 43 points to break the record held by Brooke Prather.
The Tigers scored 12 3-pointers in the game, with four from Hensley and Kelshaw and two by Christian.
“I’m confident; most of our girls can hit the three,” coach Hensley said. “I want them to know that we have confidence them. If they feel it, they need to let it go.”
Kelshaw has stepped up offensively in recent games for the Tigers.
“(Kelshaw) has given us an extra (edge),” Hensley said. “It takes a lot off Katrina because all the defenses key on her. With (Kelshaw) and Piper out there hitting threes, it opens the offense up and also allows Lacey and Katrina to go down the lane.”
On Tuesday, Crothersville will host Clarksville.