Crawford County boys hold off Paoli 64-60 with late free throws

Crawford County boys hold off Paoli 64-60 with late free throws

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Crawford County boys hold off Paoli 64-60 with late free throws

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MARENGO, Ind.

The Crawford County boys’ basketball team is shooting only about 65 percent from the foul line this season, but it’s a different story late in a game.

The Wolfpack lost a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter, then rallied and hit 11 of 12 free throws in the final two minutes to turn back rival Paoli 64-60 on Friday night.

“In the fourth quarter, four minutes and down, we’ve got to be in the 70s and 80s,” coach Mike Brown said of his team’s free-throw percentage. “We hit it well when it counts. Tonight we wouldn’t have won without them because we had trouble stopping them.”

Overall the Wolfpack hit 26 of 31 from the line.

Crawford County (18-3, 6-0 Patoka Lake) clinched the conference title outright, avoiding a tie with Perry Central.

“Nobody, including us, gave us a chance to go 6-0 in the conference this year,” Brown said. “We weren’t in the discussion. The longer the conference (season) went, the more we got talked about.

“We have no heroes. We have seven or eight guys who all play well together, who couldn’t care less who gets the ball or who gets their name in the paper as long as they win. That’s carried us this far.”

Crawford County led 48-41 early in the fourth quarter, but Paoli (11-9, 3-3) scored the next nine points to go up 50-48.

“To their credit, they made some very good plays and got back in it,” Brown said of the Rams.

The Wolfpack then hit 5 of 6 free throws to grab a 53-50 lead with 3:35 left and went to the delay game, forcing the Rams to foul.

“They’re really hard to play against,” Paoli coach Dusty Cole said. “That’s why they’re 18-3 now.”

The eighth-ranked Wolfpack will face No. 2 Clarksville (18-2) in the Class 2-A Paoli Sectional at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’ve been preparing for them off and on for the last five days,” Brown said of the Generals. “They’re a very good basketball team with two of the best guards in Southern Indiana, by far. But I kind of like my guards, too. It’s going to be a great battle and one that we’re embracing.”

Brown said his guards — senior Brandon Cate and junior Ranger Caffrey — are flying under the radar, but “we’re fine with that.” Cate led the Wolfpack with 23 points and Caffrey added 20. Both hit three 3-pointers.

“We have found, over the course of the season, there’s no one (Cate) can’t get to the basket on,” Brown said. “We give him the green light to do that. This summer I told him he has the keys to the car and to drive it well. He has the keys.”

Skyler Stroud led the Rams with 22 points, including four threes. Tanner Wroblewski added 15 points.

Looking ahead to the sectional, Cate said: “We knew Clarksville was here (in the stands), and we wanted to show them what we’re made of. I think they should be a little worried.”

Paoli 11 18 12 19 60
Crawford County 13 18 16 17 64

– Wroblewski 15, Stewart 3, Jones 7, Kameda 5, Stroud 22, Bosley 2, Chastain 6.Paoli (11-9)

– Caffrey 20, Cate 23, Mauck 7, Thomas 8, Schwartz 2, McMonigle 4.Crawford County (18-3)

– Stewart 1, Jones 1, Stroud 4, Caffrey 3, Cate 3, Mauck 1, Thomas 1.3-point goals

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