NORTH ROBINSON — Colonel Crawford took a commanding two-game lead in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference thanks to a 59-42 win over Upper Sandusky on Thursday night at Mac Morrison Gym.
Crawford led just 30-26 at the half, but was able to push that lead throughout the third period and into the fourth quarter. With this win Colonel Crawford (14-0, 10-0 Northern 10) added to its cushion over second-place Upper Sandusky (10-5, 8-2 Northern 10) in the conference standings.
Junior Carter Valentine was his usual self with 22 points, a game high in this one. Junior Nolan McKibben had 15 points, all coming from deep for the Eagles. Junior Mason Studer added nine points and was terrific handling the ball as Colonel Crawford had just two turnovers all game.
“Coming in we knew if their role players hit shots, it was going to be a tough night,” said Upper Sandusky coach Jeff Winslow. “They’re just tough to guard, they have their big three and then a bunch of spot up shooters. They are a really good team. We lost Valentine a few times and when he gets going it’s just a recipe for disaster.”
The turning point in the third quarter was when senior Chase Walker had back to back transition layups off of turnovers. Walker had six points, all in the second half. He was limited with a sprained ankle.
“The big fella had no business playing tonight,” said Eagles coach Dave Sheldon. “His ankle is a softball and I give Peggy Wolfe and our trainer, Hunter credit for working with him three times a day.”
Upper Sandusky was led by junior post Trent Beamer who scored 17 points for the Rams. Senior Cade Adams had nine points on three triples, but had to work for each basket he scored.
“Adams is a great shooter, the best shooter in the league. He hit some bombs, but we wanted CV’s (Valentine) length on him, at 6-foot-5,” Sheldon said.
Leading 48-40 after three quarters, the Eagles closed this one out by allowing just one basket in the final quarter.
“A lot of that was our ball control. We kept the ball and spread the floor. We wanted to wait until we got great shots,” Sheldon said. “It’s a big win in the league, that is the team that has owned this league over the years. That is a totally different team than what we played earlier in the year, Jeff (Winslow) does a great job with that program.”
The Eagles are back in action Saturday when they play host to fourth-place Carey (8-4, 6-3 Northern 10). The Blue Devils edged Seneca East 60-58 on Thursday.
Upper Sandusky will travel to Shelby next Wednesday.
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