NORWALK — Colonel Crawford clinched a spot in the Division III Bowling Green Regional, with a 53-51 comeback win over Western Reserve.
The Eagles were down 40-24 entering the fourth quarter, but completed the comeback. Colonel Crawford out scored the Roughriders 29-11 in the final eight minutes.
“We just talked about one possession at a time, our way. You just have to chip back at it. We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win,” Colonel Crawford head coach David Sheldon said.
Mason Studer led the Eagles with 14 points, 12 in the final quarter. Braxton Baker scored nine points. Mason McKibben and Carson Feichtner each added eight points for Colonel Crawford. Carter Valentine and Derek Horsley’s seven points a piece rounded out the Eagles’ scoring.
Jude Muenz was a huge presence for Western Reserve with 19 points. Jacob Jarrett scored nine points and Chris Buchanan added seven points.
If basketball was a game of three quarters, the Roughriders would have ran away with this game. Colonel Crawford in the end was able to weather the storm, come out on top.
Western Reserve ended the first quarter leading 15-13. The pace started out with a back-and-forth feel. Derek Horsley gave the Eagles some huge minutes off the bench early on, scoring seven quick points.
The second quarter is where Western Reserve really asserted themselves. Roughriders held the Eagles to just one basket in the second quarter. Western Reserve went into the half with a 25-15 lead.
Sheldon knew where his team was hurting at halftime.
“We had eight turnovers in the first half, we only turn it over eight times a game,” Sheldon explained.
Colonel Crawford offense was stale in the third quarter, which led to a bigger lead for Western Reserve. Three made three-pointers for the Roughriders in the third quarter, helped build the 16-point lead with a quarter to play.
McKibben kept the Eagles within striking distance with a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter.
Colonel Crawford defense was able to step-up in the final quarter — as the offense caught fire as well. Western Reserve was limited to just two made field-goals in the final eight minutes.
In the final quarter it was Studer time. The senior scored 12 points and was the catalyst of the comeback.
“He rose to the occasion when the game was on the line,” Sheldon said of his senior point guard.
Carter Valentine scored all seven of his points in the final quarter, with the game on the line.
Muenz was held scoreless for the Roughriders in the final quarter, after doing a ton of the heavy lifting through majority of the game.
“He put him on his back. I love that kid. Him and Mason Studer are the two best point guards [in the area],” Sheldon said.
Colonel Crawford made 10 shots from three-point land, while Western Reserve netted nine of their own.
With the win over Western Reserve, the Eagles are 25-0 and will play Harvest Prep Wednesday at 6 p.m. The game will be played at the Stroh Center on Bowling Green State University campus.