For The Tribune
Coach Kevin Hensley said that if his Crothersville girls basketball team has hopes of becoming a good ballclub by tournament time, it is going to have to learn how to take care of the ball during crunch time.
The Tigers had nine turnovers in the fourth quarter against Shawe Memorial on Monday night, including one that led to the winning basket in a 54-52 loss to the Hilltoppers.
“Four of our five losses this year have been with the same kind of circumstances,” Hensley said. “We just make the ill-advised pass or some type of turnover late in the game when we need to keep the ball in our possession.”
The game was tied 52-all, and Shawe was working the ball around the perimeter taking time off the clock when Katrina Christian forced a turnover to give the Tigers possession, and Hensley signaled a timeout with 38 seconds remaining.
The Tigers ran more time off the clock, and Hensley called another timeout with 21.6 ticks on the clock.
Crothersville was working the ball for a last-second shot when Shawe’s Claire Higgins picked off a pass in the backcourt and drove the winning basket with six seconds remaining.
The Tigers were unable to get off a clean shot in the closing seconds and fell to 7-5 for the season.
The Tigers maintained a 39-35 lead heading into the fourth quarter before the Hilltoppers scored six straight points to take the lead.
The teams traded points during the next four minutes with a basket by Christian tying the score at 52 all with 1:45 remaining.
The Hilltoppers held a 15-8 lead after five minutes of the first period before Maddie Riley drove for a layup, and Alexis Adair and Piper Hensley hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 16-15 lead after one period.
Christian hit her stride in the second period by scoring five baskets, with four coming on layups and the other on a short jumper in the lane, to spark the Tigers to a 26-23 lead at the half.
The junior then had three more baskets in the third period to help her team take the 39-35 lead into the fourth period.
Christian topped all players with 23 points, and Abby Jewell led the Tigers in rebounds with 10.
Higgins topped Shawe with 19 points, Megg Hensler scored 11 and Megan Hesse tallied 10.
“Shawe’s a good ballclub,” Hensley said. “They’ve came close to beating some really top-notch 1A and 2A schools. I knew they were going to be a tough out.
“We just didn’t make the plays when it counted. We made too many lob passes. They were just lobbing the ball instead of getting the right angle to make a good, hard pass.
The Tigers are off until Jan. 8 when they host Henryville.
“One thing I love about the girls is they do play hard,” Hensley said. “I think it’s more frustrating for them because they’re so close, and in every ballgame they just make the wrong choices there at the end.
“They’re starting to find out their positives. Each girls has a positive for this team. They’re starting to find out their roles a lot better. They’re seeing what their roles are.
“They’ve got to make better decisions with the ball, and it’s not going to get any easier after the break because we’ve got a top-10 team, Henryville, coming in.”