With the historic run coming to a halt at Springs Valley High School on Saturday, Crothersville girls’ basketball coach Kevin Hensley had one message for the team in the locker room.
“Keep their heads held high.”
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The Tigers fell to Class A No. 1 Wood Memorial 73-57 in French Lick’s Regional Semifinals, concluding a season where the team won the school’s first ever sectional title while also setting the wins record.
“They played hard and left it on the court,” coach Hensley said. “They played as hard as they could and that’s about all they could do. I’m just so proud of all of them.”
Crothersville (19-9) opened the game on a 7-2 run behind baskets from seniors Kashmir Kelshaw and Madison Reynolds and a 3-pointer from sophomore Piper Hensley.
The Trojans (25-1) responded with six unanswered points before Reynolds hit another basket and senior Katrina Christian got a score to put the Tigers up 11-8 with 3:28 on the clock.
Hensley got another shot from distance to fall and Christian also hit a three with two ticks on the clock, as the Tigers led 17-15 after eight minutes of play.
“I think a lot of it was from attacking the rim,” coach Hensley said. “That, more than anything, is what we were coming out to do.”
A 3-pointer from the Trojans’ Sydney Day would retake the lead for the Trojans before Christian converted an and-one to retie the game at 22-22 with 5:42 left in the first half.
The Trojans responded by outscoring the Tigers 11-2 from the 5:21 to 2:20-mark.
Sophomore Maddie Riley got a 3-pointer to fall to end before adding another field goal with 15 seconds on the clock.
At half, the Tigers trailed 34-29.
Turnovers played factor, with the Tigers giving up possession eight times to the Trojans’ three giveaways in the first 16 minutes.
The Tigers got aggressive out of the break, making five trips to the free throw line in the first four minutes.
Crothersville made five of nine attempts from the charity stripe, trailing 43-38 with 3:40 in the third quarter.
However, the Trojans turned stout defense to offense, outscoring the Tigers 14-4 heading into the fourth quarter. Four different scorers contributed to the Trojans’ run.
“They had to make an adjustment to take us at the half court because of our speed,” coach Hensley said. “They had a lot of strong defense in the second half.”
Christian scored 11 of the Tigers’ 13 points in the third quarter.
The Trojans took advantage of three Crothersville turnovers to extend their lead to 61-44 with 4:54 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Christian kept the Tigers’ hopes alive with 3:20 on the clock, but the deficit proved too much as the Trojans would ride out the clock on long possessions.
Christian led the Tigers with 30 points. The Eastern Illinois University commit finishes her career with the second most points in girls’ basketball history for Jackson County, amassing 1,664.
Seymour graduate Amanda Moore is No. 1 at 1,687 points.
Hensley added 12 points and Riley added five off the bench for the Tigers.
Day topped the Trojans with 23 points, Breanna Maikranz scored 21 and Chloe Bartley had 14.
The Tigers had 12 turnovers to the Trojans’ six and were out rebounded 31-23.
Christian, Kelshaw and Reynolds will all graduate from the Tigers’ program.
“They’ve meant a huge amount for what they’ve done to take us to another level,” coach Hensley said. “All three of them. They fought and scrapped. I can’t say enough about them, they stuck in there even during the hard times.”