Despite being dealt two losses Thursday on the first day of the Scott County Invitational, the Crothersville boys basketball team found some positives.
Opening the day against host Scottsburg, the Tigers fell behind early and lost 86-48.
The two teams hadn’t met since the late 1980s, and playing a Class 3A school proved to be a good challenge for the Class A Tigers.
Later Thursday, they met a more evenly matched opponent in Orleans, but a bad second quarter was the difference in a 51-45 loss.
When the Tigers and Bulldogs met in the season-opener, Orleans won by 17 points, so this was a much closer affair against a potential sectional opponent.
“I don’t think Scottsburg is a ton better than Orleans; I really don’t,” Tigers coach Greg Kilgore said. “We haven’t played Scottsburg I think they said the last time was 1989 or something. These kids didn’t know what a basketball was, they weren’t born in 1989, so to tell them, ‘We’re going to go play a 3A school on their court,’ I think it overwhelmed them a little bit coming out this morning.”
In the first half of the tournament opener, Scottsburg’s defense turned into offense.
The Warriors went on 8-0 and 11-0 runs in the first quarter to jump ahead 26-10. Mitchell Prince nailed a trio of 3-pointers, a 2-pointer and two free throws to lead the way.
Scottsburg then scored the first eight points of the second quarter. Mitchell Meagher, the biggest player on the floor at 6-foot-5, was a force with 12 points and six rebounds in the quarter, helping the Warriors to a 50-19 advantage at halftime.
Crothersville, meanwhile, turned the ball over 15 times and couldn’t get its offense going.
In the third quarter, however, the Tigers took care of the ball, committing only one turnover, and outscored Scottsburg 20-15. Lane Wienhorst scored 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Josh Thomas had six points.
But Crothersville trailed 65-39 heading into the fourth quarter, and the final margin was the largest deficit of the game when Scottsburg’s Carter Bowles made a pair of free throws with 46 seconds to go.
Thomas had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead Crothersville, while Meagher had a double-double of 19 points and 21 rebounds to lead Scottsburg.
The Warriors had 12 players score compared to the Tigers’ seven, and Scottsburg finished with a 51-25 rebounding advantage.
Orleans met Crothersville in the night game after a 69-64 double-overtime loss earlier in the day against Rock Creek Academy.
The Tigers and Bulldogs combined to hit seven 3-pointers in the first quarter, and the score was 14-all at the end of eight minutes.
Orleans then scored the first 13 points of the second quarter. The Tigers’ Noah Hoskins ended the streak with a layup on an inbounds play, but Orleans scored the final five points of the half for a 32-16 lead at the break.
With Orleans leading by 14 points in the third quarter, Crothersville got a basket by Conner O’Sullivan and a 3-pointer by Thomas to make it 39-30 at the 2:21 mark.
The Bulldogs, however, made it a 45-31 game going into the final quarter.
Crothersville didn’t back down, opening on a 9-2 run, capped off with O’Sullivan’s 3-pointer with 6:07 to go. Orleans, which had four turnovers in the quarter at that point, called a timeout leading 47-40.
But the closest the Tigers could get the rest of the way was six points with eight seconds to go, and the Bulldogs held on.
Thomas and O’Sullivan each scored 16 points for the Tigers (3-8), and O’Sullivan grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Fifteen of Thomas’ points came from behind the arc.
Orleans’ Duncan Gerkin took game-scoring honors with 20 points behind three 3-pointers.
“Intensity, rebounding and we took care of the ball,” Kilgore said of the difference against Orleans. “This morning, we had 15 turnovers in the first half. Tonight, we had nine for the game. Seven of those were in the second quarter, which was the difference in the game. We outplayed them every quarter but the second quarter.
“The first time, they beat us 17. This time, we got it down to six, so with a freshman and two sophomores starting, they’ve got to be thinking positive right now,” he said. “We did a very good job in the second half rebounding, limiting our turnovers and we were patient in our offense. When we’re patient in our offense, we’ve got some kids that can shoot the basketball.”
In the seventh-place game at 2 p.m. today, Crothersville will play Cannelton (0-8), which lost to Austin 76-37 and South Central 80-41 in tournament action at Austin.
That will be followed by the fifth-place game between Orleans (3-6) and South Central (2-6) at 4 p.m., the third-place game between Scottsburg (3-5) and Austin (2-6) at 6 p.m. and the championship game between Christian Academy (6-2) and Rock Creek Academy (6-4) at 8 p.m.