A physical, defensive game came down to a last shot as Crawfordsville lost 37-36 to Parke Heritage.
Anthony Wood hit his only three-pointer of the game with 1.8 left on the clock to give the Wolves (12-9) their first lead since early in the third quarter.
The senior took a pass from Wolves leading scorer Christian Johnson at the top of the circle and hit the bucket. The Athenians try at the end didn’t pan out, and the home team fell to 14-5.
“Give Christian a lot of credit,” Wolves coach Rich Schelsky said of the junior who leads his team at 18.7 points per game and had 16 on the game. “He made the right basketball play. He made a good decision with the ball, and Tony (Wood) was due. We’ve got three guys who have been in a lot of big games, and they showed some poise.”
Referring of course to Parke Heritage’s appearance in the state championship game last spring, the Wolves were behind most of the game, but chipped away and hung around. A Ziair Morgan layin with :48.2 left, though, looked good enough for Crawfordsville considering the scoring pace of the game.
It wasn’t, though, as Johnson hit a bucket with :31.4 and then made the pass for the winning shot.
“We just didn’t handle what was in front of us,” Crawfordsville assistant coach Tony Bean said after the game. “It wasn’t for lack of effort, but tonight we gave them too much. There is a lot of disappointment in the locker room. The seniors, especially, are taking it hard.”
The give might have referred to the last play, but the Wolves took advantage of six first-quarter Crawfordsville turnovers and morphed them into six points early.
The Athenians, however, bounced back from those early minutes to score the last five points of the first quarter and take the lead.
Crawfordsville had only one second-quarter turnover, though, and held the lead throughout. PH got five to take a 23-21 lead and didn’t lead again until the last shot.
“We just didn’t have that killer instinct tonight,” Athenians assistant coach Robb Williamson said. “Last night we fought so hard to defeat Tri-West, and tonight we just didn’t bounce back from an emotional game.”
Crawfordsville was led in scoring by Morgan, whose 11 points made him the only Athenian in double-figures. Gavin Kenny came off the bench with five-points in the second quarter and finished with seven.
C’ville was 15-of-35 from the field, 4-of-14 from long range and 2-of-4 from the line. They did win the rebound battle 26-22. Alex Hernandez had eight. The Athenians had 13 turnovers, but PH scored 18 points from them.
The Wolves were 13-of-37 from the field, 5-of-13 from deep and 6-of-8 from the line, including their last four in the fourth quarter. Noble Johnson had five rebounds to lead the way, and they had nine turnovers.
“We put in a new defense this week,” Schelsky noted, “and I have to give former McCutcheon coach Rick Peckinpaugh the credit. He always said to use your size and athleticism, and that is what we did. It allows us to pressure the ball more in the open court as well as pressure the ball handlers. It worked, because we only gave up 67 points in two games. That, and the fact we are finally getting some consistency in our rotations, we are having the same guys in practices and they guys are starting to trust each other more and more. We’ve won four in a row now, and we want to finish strong.”
Both teams have big games coming up.
The Wolves finish WRC play Friday with a trip to Seeger, and they will host Southmont on Feb. 22. The two teams are also in the same 2A sectional.
The Athenians double up again next weekend, with the last Sagamore Conference game of the season Friday at home against Danville, and then they host Central Catholic on Saturday.
“We are looking for a good week of practice,” Bean noted. “There are two tough games coming up, and even with tonight’s disappointment, I know the guys will bounce back and be ready.”
Parke Heritage 37, Crawfordsville 36
Score by Quarters
Parke Heritage 13 5 5 14 - 37
Crawfordsville 14 7 7 8 - 36
Parke Heritage (12-9)
FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Anthony Wood 2-7 0-0 5, Christian Johnson 5-12 4-5 16, Noble Johnson 2-10 2-3 6, Renn Harper 3-5 0-0 8, Joel Gooch 1-3 0-0 2, Max Dowd 0-0 0-0 0, Brayden Luce 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-37 6-8 37.
Ziair Morgan 4-9 0-0 11, Alex Kellerman 1-6 2-4 4, Ian Hensley 0-5 0-0 0, Alex Hernandez 3-3 0-0 6, Mekhi Wallace 3-7 0-0 6, Gavin Kenny 3-4 0-0 7, Cale Coursey 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 15-35 2-4 36.
PH 5-13 (Wood 1-3, C.Johnson 2-4, N.Johnson 0-3, Harper 2-3); CHS 4-14 (Morgan 3-6, Kellerman 0-3, Hensley 0-3, Kenny 1-2).
PH 22 (N.Johnson 5, C.Johnson 4, Gooch 4); CHS 26 (Hernandez 8, Wallace 6, Kellerman 5).
PH 3; CHS 7.
PH 9; CHS 13
Points Off TOs:
PH 18, CHS 4.