NORTH ROBINSON — Make it 10 wins in a row for Colonel Crawford after the Eagles handed local rival Bucyrus an 81-42 setback on Saturday at Mac Morrison Gym.
Colonel Crawford (10-0, 7-0 Northern 10 Athletic Conference) and Bucyrus were locked in a tight battle in the first half. After trailing by as many as eight points in the opening period, the Redmen rallied to tie the game at 10-10 with 1:55 remaining in the quarter. The Eagles forged ahead again, leading 17-12 by the end of the period, but Bucyrus pieced together a 9-0 run to open the second quarter and grab a 21-19 advantage with 4:25 left in the half.
Bucyrus (1-6, 1-4 Northern 10) held its slim lead until the final of minute play when Colonel Crawford took advantage of a pair of free throws by Carter Valentine and baskets by Mason Studer and Nolan McKibben off of back-to-back Redmen turnovers to steal a 28-24 lead at halftime.
The Eagles blew the game open in the second half, outscoring Bucyrus 53-18 to claim win No. 10. Colonel Crawford won the third quarter 19-9 and rolled in the final period, 34-9. An 8-0 run and a 9-0 run in the third period gave the Eagles the cushion they needed to put the game out of reach.
“We didn’t show up in the first half. We just didn’t come out with a sense of urgency,” Eagles coach David Sheldon said. “We’re gonna get everybody’s best shot. We got off to a slow start, we didn’t shoot it well, and we were just sloppy. I thought after halftime, we came out and played hard, played well, and had a heck of a second half. At halftime, I just said, ‘Guys, you just need to take ownership. This is a veteran team. Do what we need to do.’
“This time of year, you’re all out of whack with the break and having days off. It’ll be nice to get back into school and get back into a routine.”
While pleased with the fashion in which his team began the game, Bucyrus coach Barry Egan said an 8-0 run by the Eagles early in the third quarter left his club in a situation from which it couldn’t recover.
“We got off to a good start and they missed a number of shots they usually make and that really helped us,” Egan said. “Third quarter, we couldn’t come out those first three minutes and get it where needed it to be. We missed four pretty good shots in the key and they got two run-outs on us, and that’s pretty much all she wrote from there.”
Valentine, who leads the Northern 10 in scoring averaging 19.5 points per game, led all scorers with 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Mason Studer finished with 21 points. They each scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and each knocked down three 3-point field goals.
Chase Walker scored 12 points and had eight rebounds and a blocked shot. Nolan McKibben scored 11 points, hitting three 3-point shots. The Eagles connected on 10 3-point field goals in total.
Grady Jackson led Bucyrus with 11 points. Mike Wise, the second-leading scorer in the Northern 10 averaging 18.2 points per game, ended the evening with seven points.
Joe Rager had seven points and Carson Kimmel added five points.
Despite the lopsided final score, Egan said there were some positive aspects that the Redmen can build on moving forward.
“I think our kids have good attitudes and give great effort,” Egan said. “The kids continue to keep coming out and fighting. Our kids play with a lot of heart and a lot of effort, and that covers up a lot mishaps you might have.”
The Redmen will get back on the floor Monday for a home game against Mansfield Christian.
Colonel Crawford travels to Plymouth on Tuesday for a non-league match-up.