Without leading scorer, Tigers fall to Hornets in SAC battle

The Crothersville girls basketball team got off to a slow start on Tuesday night in a Southern Athletic Conference matchup with Henryville.

The Tigers suffered a 49-16 loss to the Hornets.

Most of the damage came on the glass and from Henryville’s Alexis Marion on the perimeter. Marion hit five 3-pointers to lead the team with 15 points in the first half.

Crothersville trailed 29-8 at halftime, scoring four points in each of the quarters.

“It’s just effort more than anything,” head coach Kevin Hensley said of the rebounding woes. “If we give effort, we can rebound with anybody.”

Morgan Womack got the Tigers on the board first with a jumper from the baseline, then Tiessa Stevens hit a free-throw line jumper.

In the second quarter, Stevens had another basket from the elbow after a well-executed inbounds play from the Tigers. Ella Plasse scored the other basket with a strong take to the hoop that she flipped up and in.

“‘T’ can be a big part of our team,” Hensley said of Stevens. “She’s so strong. It can be hard to stop her sometimes.”

In the second half, Crothersville really picked up its defensive intensity. The Tigers didn’t allow the Hornets to score their first bucket of the second half until there was 2:40 left in the third quarter, and Henryville’s Hillary White finally got a bucket to go.

Crothersville held Henryville to just five points in the third frame — the only issue was the Tigers could only muster up two points themselves.

But Hensley believed it was sign of what he wants the defense to bring every quarter.

“If we would’ve played that defense the whole game, it can still be close,” Hensley said. “That’s what I was stressing to them. Even if you don’t play on offense, your defense can keep it close. The fourth quarter we fell apart again.”

The Hornets pulled away a bit more in the fourth quarter for their eventual 33-point victory, improving to 6-8 on the season. Marion led them with 19 points (18 of those coming off threes).

As for the Tigers, they were led by Stevens with six points. Plasse and Zoe Spangler each scored four and Womack had two.

Crothersville was still without its leading scorer Kennadi Lakins on Tuesday night, who remains out with an injury she sustained on Dec. 9. Lakins is averaging 17.7 points per game this season.

Without Lakins, other teams try to pressure the Tigers since she is their primary ball handler.

“Every team we play now until she gets back, they’re just keep putting constant pressure on us because we can’t handle the ball well,” Hensley said. “It’s very tough without Kennadi just because of her skills.”

In her place, Plasse and Spangler have been taking on most of the ball handling workload.

“It’s a lot of pressure to handle that ball,” Henlsey said. “We put Zoe up there, and Zoe last year was nothing but a post player. She’s moved into that role with Ella trying to handle the ball until we can get Kennadi back and healthy again.”

There’s no timetable yet for when Lakins will return.

The Tigers, now 2-8 on the season, will be back in action on Thursday night at Christian Academy at 6:30 p.m.

“I’ve seen some positive,” Hensley said. “We know teams are gonna press us and rush us to shoot bad shots instead of taking our time and getting good shots. That’s what I keep stressing to them in practice.”