NORTH ROBINSON — Colonel Crawford completed an undefeated season at 22-0 Saturday evening with a win over visiting Clear Fork.
This marks the first undefeated season since 1962-1963 for Colonel Crawford. The Eagles used a big second half to corral the Colts, 71-55.
Junior point guard Mason Studer was the best all-around player on the court Saturday. Studer finished with 27 points and was able to get to the rim all night long.
Studer scored 10 points in the opening quarter, which came to an end with the Eagles leading by a score of 17-10.
“He’s one of the best point guards I ever coached,” Colonel Crawford coach David Sheldon said. “He does it on both ends. He’s a poor mans Aaron Craft, that’s what I call him. No body plays harder. We will get done with practice and Mason Studer is running suicides and he says, ‘Coach, I have to be in the best shape every night’.”
Studer knocked down 14-of-18 free throws.
“He leads the league in assists. He had a great game tonight. He did a great job of getting in the paint all night,” Sheldon said.
At halftime, it was a close game with Colonel Crawford hanging on to a 29-26 lead.
Ben Blubaugh led the way for Clear Fork with 16 points, 12 of them coming in the first half.
The third quarter was huge for the Eagles, who were able to create some separation and built a 56-35 lead heading into the final period.
Junior Carter Valentine racked up 20 points, 12 of which came in the third quarter alone. The Northern 10’s leading scorer knocked down five 3-point field goals.
“CV can fill it up. You look at Carter Valentine he can flat out fill it up. He has range, he can get to the rim. He has god-given ability being 6-5, 6-6,” Sheldon added.
Clear Fork gave Colonel Crawford their best shot in the final quarter. Bruce Swainhart had 11 of his total 14 points in the final quarter.
“That is a good team. You look at their schedule and it’s tough. Coach Steve Bechtel does a terrific job,” Sheldon said.
Sheldon gives the credit for the 22-0 regular season to the players and their discipline.
“It’s just a special group that has bought in. We focus one game at a time,” he said. “Our motto and our program’s motto is one game and one possession at a time. After tonight we’re back to 0-0.”
Sheldon said there are three reasons the season has been successful.
“We have unbelievable administration support. They just hang out with their buddies, just the basketball team, not the football guys right now just so we can play. The family support at home,” Sheldon said.
Moving on, Sheldon knows his team starts with a clean state now that it is tournament time.
“I think this group understands the importance of the tournament,” he said. “Last year, being part of a regional team. They know Monday it’s back at it. Whether we like it or not, there is a bullseye on our back. We are going to get everyone’s best shot with the regular season that we have. It’s a heck of a district tournament and I know these guys will lock in just like they have for 22 games.”
The Eagles open postseason play at home on Friday, Feb. 26 as the top seed in the Division III Shelby District. Colonel Crawford will play host to either No. 10 Wynford or No. 12 Van Buren. That game is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Wynford.
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