Young Tigers still primed for success


It was just three seasons ago when the Crothersville girls basketball team won its first sectional title.

That team, which featured double-double machine Katrina Christian, delivered one of the most emotional sporting moments to Crothersville High School in its history, and the Tigers are hungry for another title.

Only three players remain from that 2017 sectional championship team, and all were freshmen.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

Isabell Lewis, Makayla Helt and Rebekah Cook played sparingly that season, but now, they’re tasked with trying to lead this group to the promised land again.

Though this season’s team is hopeful for a postseason moment, they’ve already delivered one in the regular season.

On Thursday, Crothersville coach Kevin Hensley won his 100th game with a dominant 68-49 win over South Decatur. It was the fourth win for the Tigers in this young season before they begin a three-game road trip that culminates with a stop at West Washington — the team they beat to win their sectional crown.

Outside of three of their four seniors, none of the players on this year’s team have experienced postseason glory.

Many of their players are also adjusting to full-time varsity roles, something they’re still getting used to eight games into the season.

“I think that’s the one thing about this early part of the season, it’s a learning process,” Hensley said. “We lost two seniors last year that these girls all looked to first. They’re learning new roles, and that’s been a big part of it. We’re trying to figure out how to do things and still win when you’re in tough situations.”

One of those tough situations already happened during the Tigers’ first Southern Athletic Conference game against Borden.

Down at the half to the Braves, the Tigers came out in the third quarter and outscored the visitors 21-5 to take the lead for good. The Braves pushed back to make the game interesting, but the Tigers were able to hang on.

Winning tough games was a good step in the right direction for this team, Hensley said.

“They had an eight-point lead on us at halftime, we weathered the storm and that’s something we’ve got to learn along the way because teams aren’t going to be easy on us,” he said.

Against arguably the toughest team on their schedule so far, the Tigers played tough against Jackson County and sectional rival Trinity Lutheran.

The Cougars, who rank fifth in Class A, are being tabbed as the favorites to win their sectional.

Crothersville hung tough with Trinity early on until they were able to pull away late.

Despite the lopsided loss, Hensley is confident his girls could develop into the kind of team that could topple Trinity Lutheran should they meet again.

One of the keys to that game for the Tigers was being patient and deliberate with the basketball. It worked well early, and they were able to keep it close.

That’s exactly what Hensley wants to see.

“We’ve been working on keeping our consistency level throughout the contest,” he said. “Because if we do, then the ballgames are close all the way through.”

He also recognizes his players need to be able to recognize when they can buck their style of play and go after mismatches.

“We have those little lapses or memory losses, and we don’t take advantage of situations where we have a mismatch,” he said. “We might have someone quicker getting guarded by someone slower, and we don’t take advantage of that.”

The Tigers will look to take advantage of some mismatches again this Thursday in Elizabeth against SAC rival South Central at 7:30 p.m.

No posts to display