MARENGO, Ind. – For basketball-crazed Crawford County, it was a long time coming.
Senior Adam Beasley hit a six-footer in the lane with 3.1 seconds left to lift host Crawford County to a 33-32 win over No. 1 Providence Saturday night in the final of the Class 2A Sectional 46. Providence (22-3) had one last chance and senior Juston Betz missed a 50-foot heave at the buzzer.
Then the Crawford County fans quickly rushed the floor. The sectional title was the first for the Wolfpack in 15 years.
Crawford County will take a nine-game winning streak to the Paoli Regional, where they will face Forest Park (18-9). It will be a rematch of a Nov. 23 opener, when the Rangers won 57-55.
The Wolfpack, though, had to dig out of a 10-point hole in the first half. Providence led 20-10 after Eli Coker drilled a 3-pointer 3:37 left in the first half.
Crawford County then held Providence to just three points — a 3-pointer from Cullen Ebert — for the next 13:57. During the spurt, the Wolfpack outscored Providence 19-3 and surged ahead 31-23 on a 3-pointer from Ty Nickelson, who led Crawford County with 12 points.
“The shots just weren’t falling for us,” Coker said. “This is just God’s plan for us, and we accept that.”
“We held them to one shot most of the night,” Crawford County coach Levi Carmichael said. “I’d love to take the credit but the kids made the plays. I didn’t make a single shot.”
The Wolfpack then experienced a drought of their own and went more than six minutes without a point.
“I think we started looking forward a little bit,” Carmichael said. “It wasn’t over just yet. Providence is a heck of a team. They’re an unbelievable team. They just take so many things away. … Our kids got a little tentative.”
With Crawford County struggling, Providence rallied for a 32-31 lead, capped by a 3-pointer from Ebert.
“These kids are fighters,” said Providence coach Andrew Grantz. “They continued to fight and claw. At times, we made shots to win games. Tonight, we just didn’t make them.”
After Alex Judd grabbed a loose ball, Providence worked the clock down to 29 seconds, when Ebert was fouled. He missed the bonus free throw.Crawford County asked for a timeout with 14.6 seconds left.
“What a heck of a play he made,” Carmichael said of Beasley. “He’s a guy we knew would be for a moment like this. We just had to get him to believe he was ready for this moment.”
Said Beasley: “I was just trying to get a shot. I really happy. It’s been a while since we won a sectional.”
After hitting the game-winning shot, Beasley deflected the credit.
“We’re all the heroes,” he said.
Coker, who scored all of his points in the first half, led the Pioneers with 14 points. Ebert added nine.
CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 46
CHAMPIONSHIP AT CRAWFORD CO.
CRAWFORD CO. 33, PROVIDENCE 32
CRAWFORD COUNTY (19-6)
Brent Smith 3p; Gavin Coleman 2p; Adam Beasley 7p; Tyrell Nickelson 12p; Matt Dearborn 6p; Josh Thomas 3p.
Juston Betz 7p; Cullen Ebert 9p; Eli Coker 14p; Alex Judd 2p