By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
Sometimes it’s not how many baskets a player makes, but when they make them.
Class A No. 10 North Daviess (13-5) defeated North Knox (6-11) 49-40 Saturday evening on Senior Night at the Cougar Den behind 12 points from senior Nick Crays.
Crays’ hand was heavily taped after he broke the tip of the thumb on his left hand in the first quarter of Friday night’s 39-26 loss at Bloomfield. He was visibly struggling with his shot for much of the game, but when his teammates needed him he delivered in a big way.
As North Daviess held a slim 27-25 lead midway through the third quarter, Crays connected on three consecutive 3-pointers to push the lead to 36-26 with 30 seconds to play in the quarter. The quick 9-1 run by Crays effectively ended the Warriors threat for the night.
“He’s (Crays) just a warrior, and our kids really thrive off that,” said North Daviess coach Brent Dalrymple. “Nick has been there. I don’t know how many games he’s played, but he’s probably over 70 or 80 varsity basketball games. He’s the most comfortable on the floor, and when it’s time to take big shots, we expect him to step up and take them.”
The Cougars came out on fire in the first quarter as they jumped on top of the Warriors 15-4 after the first eight minutes. Senior Wes Lengacher led all scorers with six points on two of the Cougars four 3-pointers in the opening quarter.
“After last night we took 25 threes, and hit five,” Dalrymple said. “It wasn’t that we minded taking threes, I think it was the approach we took as opposed to last night versus tonight. Last night if we got the look we took it, and tonight you saw 10, 11, 12 passes of trying to get something better, then kick it out and shoot it when we’re sure we’re ready to shoot it.”
The Warriors found life on the offensive end to start the second quarter in the form of a 9-2 run to cut the lead North Daviess lead to 17-13. North Daviess responded with an 8-1 run of its own, before settling for a 25-18 halftime advantage.
After Crays outscored the Warriors by himself in the third quarter, 9-8, the Cougars took a commanding 36-26 lead into the final quarter. North Knox never got closer than eight, but North Daviess had trouble putting the game away, as they connected on only eight of its 23 free throw attempts.
With eight seniors on the 2012-13 roster for North Daviess, this year’s senior night was extremely important to all who were involved. North Daviess has one home game remaining, but Dalrymple said he chose the North Knox game, because all the senior’s would get to play since it wasn’t a conference game or a future sectional opponent.
“I’ve been here 13 years, so this is a class that was in kindergarten when I got here,” Dalrymple said. “To see these guys come up through the ranks, and stick with it. I know how much dedication it takes, how much offseason preparation it takes. Not all of them get a whole lot of playing time, but to stick with it, come to practice every day to get us as good as we can be is pretty special. I tell them all the time that I love them, and I do. I love coaching them, being around them. It’s very meaningful to have that many kids want to be a part of the program.”
NORTH KNOX 4 14 8 14 -- 40
NORTH DAVIESS 15 10 11 13 -- 49
North Knox (40)
Alsman 0 0-0 2 0, Graman 5 1-2 4 11, Bond 1 0-0 5 3, McKinnon 2 0-0 0 4, Meurer 3 8-12 0 15, Martin 2 0-0 1 6, Robertson 0 0-0 1 0. Totals 13 9-14 13 40.
North Daviess (49)
Crays 4 1-4 4 12, Wittmer 1 2-4 2 5, Wagler 3 0-0 2 7, Byrer 3 3-9 1 8, Woodruff 1 0-0 0 3, Cook 1 0-0 0 3, Heshelman 0 0-2 0 0, Hostetter 1 0-2 0 2. Totals 17 8-23 11 49.
3-point goals: North Knox 4 (Martin 2, Meurer, Bond), North Daviess 9 (Crays 3, W. Lengacher 2, Wagler, S. Woodruff, Wittmer, Cook).