Tigers top West Washington, win first sectional title in 105 years




After 105 years of trying, the Crothersville boys basketball team can call themselves sectional champions.

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Holding a 10-point lead with less than a minute to go, the Tigers staved off a late rally from last year’s sectional title holder, West Washington, to win 57-51 for the program’s first sectional trophy.

The win was a long time coming for many of the Crothersville faithful, including coach Greg Kilgore — a 1985 CHS graduate who played for the Tigers.

“This old guy has been waiting 52 (years),” he joked.

But he recognized the end of the long drought was all about how hard his players worked this season.

“We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, through heartbreaks and near misses,” Kilgore said. “I really felt if we got off to a good start tonight, we could get it done, and we did. Everybody that came off the bench did something to aid us in winning this sectional championship.”

Earlier this season, the Tigers dropped a four-point game to West Washington in Campbellsburg, but Kilgore thought even then, his boys were the better side.

“I felt even when we lost to West Washington that we were the better team one-through-seven,” he said. “I thought we did a pretty good job all in all. We got up by 11 in the first half. Then it kind of leaped away from us.”

The Tigers led 13-11 at the end of the first quarter, were up 24-13 following a free throw by Josh Thomas with 3:55 remaining in the second period and took a 24-21 lead into the locker room at the break.

Both teams scored 12 points in the third quarter, but the Senators went on a 6-0 run to take a 31-30 lead at the 2-minute mark.

Quinten Keasler scored on the Tigers’ next possession to put his team back on top for good.

“I thought the kids kept their composure and played through a lot of adversity,” Kilgore said.

Jayden Walls’ basket with 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Tigers a 43-36 lead. A basket by Thomas with 1 minute left put the Tigers in command 52-42 before a 3-pointer by Nash Huff and two 3s by Lane Hoefler cut the difference to 54-51 with 20 seconds remaining.

Free throws by Ethan Shirley and Cable Spall sealed the win for the Tigers.

The Tigers had balanced scoring with Kaedon Bright and Walls scoring 13 points each, Spall netting 12, Keasler contributing eight, Thomas chipping in five, Shirley adding four and Carson Farmer grabbing two.

“The feeling is amazing to finally have it, have a sectional win,” said Thomas, the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer. “Everybody waits for it, and we finally got it after 100-some years.”

He agreed with his coaches that teamwork made it possible for the Tigers to finally achieve their dream.

“Everybody played great,” he said. “We all pitched in, and our juniors stepped up big tonight for us and made it one heck of a game. I’m so proud of them. I can’t wait to see what they do next year.“

Thomas said a key to staying ahead throughout the fourth quarter was the Tigers’ ability to break the Senators’ press. He said the Senators didn’t guard them as tight as they expected, allowing them to make the needed push up the court.

The Tigers now head to the Loogootee Regional on Saturday for a 10 a.m. tipoff with top-ranked Barr-Reeve.

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