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Crittenden County’s best start to a basketball season in more than a half century ran into its first major roadblock lastFriday at Lyon County. Now, one week later, the Rockets are in a must-win situation if they hope to win the regular-season Fifth District crown.
It seems as though every time Crittenden County and Trigg County get together on the basketball court, there are major stakes on the table. Tonight will be a rematch of last year’s Fifth District Tournament championship with former Rocket Peyton Croft (now Trigg’s coach) squaring off against his former coach and good friend Denis Hodge and his Unknown Guys in Gray, as they were dubbed after beating Trigg in December.
The Rockets have to clip Trigg again this time if they want to capture outright the regular-season district crown. They would need to knock off Livingston again later this month to seal the deal. A Trigg win at Marion tonight could create a tie between the Wildcats and CCHS for the top seed in post-season play. A coin toss would determine who plays the No. 3 seed in the first round, which appears to be Lyon at this point.
Crittenden beat Trigg in its first game of the season at Cadiz. That was Trigg’s second outing of the year and the Wildcats were working without their star inside player Detaveon Day, who is averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds since sitting out two games.
CCHS has split with Lyon this year, besting the Lyons 57-53 back in December as part of the Rockets’ 10-1 start to the season. It was the best 11-game beginning since 1951 when Crittenden County reeled off nine straight wins before losing to eventual state champion Cuba in the Paducah Tilghman Christmas Tournament. Only three members of that 1951-52 team are still living. They are Don Brasher, Charlie Brantley and Bruce Ordway. That team finished the season 26-4 and was upset in the district tournament.
LADY ROCKETS IN A SIMILAR SITUATION
At the halfway point, Crittenden County’s Lady Rockets are three games above .500, enjoying some success that’s been lacking over the past three seasons, yet in a state of bewilderment at times due to inconsistent play.
Crittenden’s first 15 games have produced topsy-turvy results. After winning the first five, Crittenden lost to Hopkinsville then dropped one of three at the Russellville Christmas tournament, starting the New Year with an impressive 8-2 record that could have just as easily been 10-0.
Since 2015 started, however, the girls are 1-4. The Lady Rockets broke a four-game skid Tuesday night by whipping visiting Dawson Springs 56-13. Leading up to that, Crittenden had lost in consecutive order at University Heights, Lyon County, Webster County and Hopkins Central. The road games were very unkind to the Lady Rockets, exposing some weaknesses that coach Shannon Hodge has been working diligently to repair – namely improving the team’s mental and physical toughness. Winning on the road requires those traits.
Granted, UHA and Lyon are among the best in the region, and despite mid-level marks, Webster and Hopkins Central are very athletic, but coach Hodge hasn’t been pleased with the last week’s effort.
What’s certain is that with its improved credentials, Crittenden isn’t going to sneak up on anyone. Teams are bringing fierce defense at the Lady Rockets, trying to keep senior Chelsea Oliver and sophomore Cassidy Moss in check. The two are averaging 15 and 13 points, respectively.
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The Lady Rockets will need all of the firepower they can muster tonight as Trigg County comes to Rocket Arena for a Fifth District rematch. Crittenden beat Trigg 52-38 in early December. A sweep of the Lady Wildcats would keep in order CCHS’s hopes of at least a share of the regular-season league title.
Crittenden’s chances to win the district outright were dashed last Friday at Lyon County as the girls lost 56-39 to the Lady Lyons. CCHS had beaten the Lyons earlier at Marion.