CLARKSVILLE — Crawford County used a half court zone and a full court press to stymie the Providence offense as the Wolfpack pulled away in the third quarter to post a 43-29 win in the first round of the girls’ Class 2A Sectional 46 tournament on Tuesday night at Providence’s Robert Larkin Center.
“We needed one more ball handler and one more shooter to keep them honest,” Providence coach Brad Burden said of the Wolfpack defense – a defense that held the Pioneers to 9 of 25 shooting inside the arc and 2 of 11 from three-point range.
The Pioneers got a huge effort from their four seniors, forwards Natalie Boesing, Brigid Welch and Maggie Purichia and guard Kaylee Kaiser.
“They’re just amazing kids,” said Burden of his seniors. “When they were freshmen I was second guessing continuing to coach. They gave me the joy of coaching again. I can’t thank them enough.”
Crawford County (19-5), ranked No. 11 in Class 2A, advances to play Clarksville on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The sectional final is Saturday at 7 p.m.
Leading by six going into the third quarter, Crawford County built a double digit lead before Providence answered.
Early on in the quarter, Providence forced four turnovers but had no points to show for the defensive effort. Crawford County, meanwhile, built a 29-19 lead inside the final two minutes.
Providence finally answered with a three-point play by Boesing with 46 seconds remaining and it was 30-22 going into the fourth.
The Pioneers opened the fourth quarter with a basket by Welch and trailed 30-24 with less than a minute gone.
“We got it to six, we just had to keep fighting and digging,” said Burden.
For the game, Boesing scored 17 points to pace Providence, which finishes the season at 12-12.
Early on, Crawford County was leading 5-3 when Purichia knocked down a three-pointer over the Wolfpack zone to make it 6-5. A field goal by Boesing pulled the Pioneers to within one (9-8) at the 2:30 mark and the Wolfpack led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Crawford County was leading 15-10 when Boesing hit a field goal and a free throw to make it 15-13 with 5:27 left in the half.
Leading 17-13, the Wolfpack press forced a turnover and converted that into a bucket by Treasure Nickelson for a 19-13 lead midway through the quarter. Providence answered with a basket by Welch to cut the Wolfpack lead to four with two minutes remaining – Crawford County led 21-15 at the break.
For the Wolfpack, Nickelson finished with 19 points and Brooke Elliott added 12 in the winning effort.
Crawford County had won two games against the Pioneers during the regular season – 54-48 in overtime on November 16 and 52-39 on January 28.
In the other first round game, Eastern (Pekin) defeated Austin 37-30 and will take on Henryville in the first semifinal game on Friday at 6 p.m.
CLASS 2A, SECTIONAL 46 First round at Providence
CRAWFORD COUNTY 43, PROVIDENCE 29
Crawford County 13 8 9 13 - 43
Providence 10 5 7 7 - 29
Crawford County (19-5) – Treasure Nickelson 19, Alexis Fraime 6, Brooke Elliott 12, Taylor Herbaugh 3, Autumn Schigur 1, Gabrielle Gaines 2.
Providence (12-12) – Natalie Boesing 17, Brigid Welch 6, Maggie Purichia 3, Kaylee Kaiser 3, Brooklynn Nolot 0.
Three-point goals – Crawford County 3 (Elliott 3), Providence 2 (Purichia, Kaiser).
EASTERN 37, AUSTIN 30
Eastern 10 11 7 9 - 37
Austin 4 9 9 8 - 30
Eastern (Pekin) – Shelby Casey 2, Caylee Graves 3, Isabell Claywell 3, Shelbi Patton 2, Lily Crumpton 14, Kendra Sill 13.
Austin – Jaelin Coomer 6, Erin Lee 2, Grace Igleheart 6, Hannah Beck 12, Ashlynn Satterwhite 4.
Three-point goals – Eastern 3 (Sill 3), Austin 1 (Coomer 1).