Basketball

Crawford County advances to Class 2A state final

Crawford County clinched its first semi-state championship in program history by way of a 49-40 win over Heritage Christian at Richmond on Saturday.

With the win, the Wolfpack advance to next Saturday’s Class 2A state championship at 12:45 p.m. versus Frankton (22-6) inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The loudest contingent covering almost half the Tiernan Center on Saturday was from Crawford County.

“Our kids have made a point to talk about the community and what they mean to us,” Crawford County coach Levi Carmichael said. “We really considered it a home game. There’s no doubt that that presence was a force in this game.”

READ MORE: Community spirit lifts Crawford County hoops

Adam Beasley led Crawford County with 12 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Josh Thomas and Gavin Coleman added 11 points apiece. Crawford County’s unbeaten streak has now reached 13 games. The Wolfpack (22-6) have won 18 of their past 20 games ahead of next Saturday’s state final.The school has yet to win a state title in any sport.

The Eagles began the game with three consecutive 3-pointers, and they led 9-2 after Thomas opened scoring for Crawford County midway through the opening period. The Wolfpack trailed 14-4 after the first quarter, but Crawford County didn’t waver.

A spurt led by Coleman off the bench got Crawford County back in the game as the Wolfpack erased a 10-point deficit to tie it at 20-20 at halftime.

“Coach called my number,” Coleman said of scoring seven of his 11 points in the second frame. “I just went our there and put my heart, soul and everything into it.”

Six straight points to begin the third period gave the Wolfpack all the momentum they would need to lead the rest of the way. Crawford County held on to a one-point advantage entering the fourth and pulled away behind Beasley’s performance. Three straight baskets by the senior gave Crawford County a 38-33 advantage.

“We didn’t talk about anything complex at halftime just some simple adjustments of what we needed to do,” Carmichael said. “Once we got the momentum a little bit our kids just fed off that.”

The eventual nine-point margin was the Wolfpack’s largest lead. Crawford County held Heritage Christian to just 26 points in the second, third and fourth quarters after a 14-point first period. The Eagles (17-10) were led by Andrew Williams with 22 points as he nailed six 3-pointers.

“We got in a little bit of a hurry and took some uncharacteristic shots,” Heritage Christian coach Corey Jackson said of allowing a 12-0 run during the second and third quarters. “I give them a lot of credit. They beat us at our own game.”

WOLFPACK 49, EAGLES 40

Crawford County (22-6) – Brent Smith 1 0-0 3, Adam Beasley 6 0-1 12, Tyrell Nickelson 0 0-2 0, Matthew Dearborn 3 1-2 7, Josh Thomas 5 1-2 11, Gavin Coleman 4 1-2 11, Noah Sturgeon 0 5-6 0.

Heritage Christian (17-10) – Ben Gordon 1 0-0 3, Andrew Williams 7 2-4 22, Kyle Somers 2 0-0 5, Zack Meus 2 0-1 4, Hayden Wynja 1 2-2 5, Bennett Coster 0 1-2 1.

3-pointers – Crawford County 3 (Coleman 2, Smith), Heritage Christian 9 (Williams 6, Gordon, Somers, Wynja).

Rebounds – Crawford County 27 (Dearborn 6), Heritage Christian 19 (Wynja 4, Williams 4).

Turnovers – Crawford County 10, Heritage Christian 10.

Fouls – Crawford County 12, Heritage Christian 12. Fouled out – Thomas.

Crawford County's Tyrell Nickleson shoots the ball against Heritage Christian Saturday, March 18, 2017 during the Class 2A basketball semi-state championship in the Tiernan Center at Richmond.

Crawford County’s Tyrell Nickleson shoots the ball against Heritage Christian Saturday, March 18, 2017 during the Class 2A basketball semi-state championship in the Tiernan Center at Richmond.