NORTH ROBINSON — Colonel Crawford picked up yet another sectional championship on Friday night with their win over Van Buren.
The Eagles (23-0) dispatched the Black Knights 78-44 at Mac Morrison Gym to capture their 10th straight sectional title.
“We got to win a conference championship and a conference championship and a sectional championship for the first time in school history (on home floor). That just shows the tradition of our program,” said Eagles head coach Dave Sheldon.
Defense turning into offense was the name of the game in this one as the Eagles raced out to a 21-9 lead after one quarter of play.
“Our defense set the tone and created offense,” Sheldon said. “We knew they were going to sit in a 2-3 zone and we wanted to get our offense off our defense so they couldn’t sit back. We shot it well. We denied one pass, the length we have creates havoc. We’ve done this all year. It’s key as we move on.”
Leading Colonel Crawford on the offensive end was junior Carter Valentine with 19 points. Senior Chase Walker added 17, all coming in the first half.
“Chase was really good, all 17 in the first half,” Sheldon said about his senior big man. “He’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s a big boy and he’s strong. You expect that from a four-year letterman.”
Taking it to another level in the second quarter, Colonel Crawford pushed its lead to 52-20 at halftime.
A running clock came into play with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter due to Colonel Crawford being up by at least 35 points. The Eagles led Van Buren 68-34 at the end of three quarters.
“It’s neat we got everyone in,” Sheldon said. “Our starters only played one minute in the third quarter. It was great to get everybody tournament experience.“
Colonel Crawford put it away in the final quarter led by junior Ethan Smith with five points in the final eight minutes.
For Van Buren Andrew Schroeder was their go-to scorer with 13 points.
“He was averaging 15.5 a game coming in,” Sheldon said. “He can finish left and right and shoot the three. That’s a young basketball team. That’s going to be a team that gets better.”
Next up for the Eagles is a district semifinal matchup with No. 3 seed Willard at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 4 at Shelby High School. The Crimson Flashes (18-5) rolled past No. 8 Elmwood 61-45 on Friday night to win the sectional championship.
“It’s a very good district tournament,” Sheldon said. “Willard is an outstanding team. They won their conference and they’re very talented. We’ll go back to work and prepare to play in a district semi next Thursday.”
Willard, champion of the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division, has won eight consecutive games. Their last loss was a 50-43 setback against Oak Harbor on Jan. 22.
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