Crescent - 28
Morrison - 39
After Crescent beat rival Cashion on Feb. 10th to claim the Three Rivers Conference regular-season crown, the Lady Tigers looked like one of the more dangerous teams entering the postseason. Then four days later, Crescent standout Elizabeth Battelo went down with a knee injury, sidelining her for the rest of the regular season.
There was fear that Battelo wouldn’t be able to play in the Lady Tigers’ first postseason game against Stroud last weekend. Battelo gritted it out, deciding to play in the Lady Tigers final two games of the year. Crescent lost in a heartbreaker to Stroud, 39-38, dropping them to the consolation bracket of the regional tournament where they would face Morrison.
Crescent entered Thursday afternoon even with Morrison in the season series. The Lady Tigers fell to Morrison in the Frontier Tournament back on December 14th. Crescent got their revenge on Feb. 6th with a 56-45 win. Both of those games had a healthy Battello. Thursday night’s matchup did not. Morrison controlled the game from the opening tip and held a four-point lead at halftime before cruising to the 11-point win in the second half.
“From the tip, we fell behind and couldn’t really crack a four-point margin after that,” Crescent Head Coach Karl Butt said. “We just couldn’t get it tied up or take control. I felt like in the third if we could’ve got the game tied up, we could’ve slowed it down and took over the game. We just really couldn’t get anything to work for us.”
Part of the reason Crescent couldn’t get anything going was due to Battello’s injury. Din In her final two games of the season, she finished with three points. She didn’t score against Morrison. Butt says the layoff between games hurt the momentum Crescent had going into the playoffs.
“She wasn’t really her normal self and that’s understandable when you miss a week and a half,” Butt said. “Her offensive ability is the main thing we need from her and I think with her being out of rhythm the last few weeks probably hurt that a little.”
A loss that ends the season always hurts; it hurts ing even more when you’re not at full strength. That’s why Thursday’s loss is tough to swallow for the LadyCats.
“We feel like this was a successful season but this wasn’t where we wanted it to end,” Butt said. “We finished with a winning record and we won our conference, but I think the way it ended is why it’s so frustrating for us. I think we could’ve been playing next weekend in the area tournament if everything falls our way, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. that’s how it goes sometimes. We’ll see how we can use this to come back next year even better.”