By Dustin Schandevel
PARAGOULD – The Crowley’s Ridge Academy Falcons defeated the Northeast Arkansas Christian Home Educators (NACHE) Eagles, 66-56, on Feb 7 at the Falcons Gym. Griffin Hogue led the Falcons with 23, scoring 18 in the first half.
Falcons coach Josh Longino said the team’s success relies on Hogue’s gameplay.
“Everything runs through Griffin,” Longino said. “If he’s having a bad night, we tend to have a bad night,” Longino said. “He’s a big part of what we do and how we play.”
The non-conference win improved the Falcons to 11-15 overall, 1-5 in conference. The loss dropped the Eagles to 1-8 overall.
The Falcons took a 48-39 lead into the fourth quarter. Hogue extended the lead to double digits after he opened the quarter with a steal and fastbreak layup to make it 50-39 with 7:39 remaining. The Eagles responded with a quick 5-0 run after Nathan Mathis hit a deep three and Garett Fimicum made a driving layup to make it 50-44 with 5:36 remaining.
The Falcons extended their lead back to 10 after Noah Elms grabbed a defensive rebound and took it coast-to-coast down the left side of the court for an easy lay-in to make it 54-44 with 5:05 remaining in the fourth.
The Eagles made it interesting after Elijah Ellenburg connected on a three in the left corner to close the Falcons lead to 58-52 with 2:28 left. Jacob Pillow gave the Falcons some breathing room after he hit two free throws to make it 61-53 with 1:40 remaining. The Falcons went 10 of 13 from the free throw line in the fourth.
The Eagles tried to make a late run after Ellenburg scored off a no look pass from Mathis to make it 63-56 with 54 seconds remaining. The Falcons sealed the game after Elms recorded a steal with 47 seconds left in the game.
The Eagles came out of halftime on fire. After an early bucket by Pillow to make it 41-24 Falcons, the Eagles went on a 15-4 run to pull within four with 3:38 remaining in the third. Four different Eagles scored during the run. The Falcons responded with a 5-0 run of their own to end the quarter leading 48-39.
The Falcons went on an 11-0 run to open the second quarter after forcing four straight turnovers to make it 30-13 with 5:25 remaining. Hogue scored five in a row during the run, including a three from the left corner. He had 13 in the quarter.
The Eagles pulled within nine after Fimicum hit back-to-back threes to make it 30-21 with 3:50 left in the quarter. He hit four triples in the game.
The Falcons extended their lead back to 13 after Elms recorded a steal and converted a fastbreak and-1 layup to make it 37-24 with 15.7 seconds left in the second.
The Eagles jumped on the Falcons early on, connecting on two consecutive triples to take a 6-2 lead with 6:25 remaining, their biggest lead of the night. The Falcons tied the game after Landon Brinkley hit a jumper to make it 6-6.
The Falcons went on a 12-2 run that led to an Eagles timeout with 1:20 remaining in the first. Pillow had five during the run, including an and-1 conversion. Hogue finished the run with a three that made it 18-8.
The Falcons wrap up regular season play on Feb 10 as they take on the Walnut Ridge Bobcats away.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
CRA 19 20 9 18 66
NACHE 13 11 15 17 56
CRA (11-15) – Griffin Hogue 23, Jacob Pillow 14, Noah Elms 8, Dakota Smith 7, Sam Malone 4, Landon Brinkley 4, Bennett Austin 4, Dalton Smith 2
NACHE (1-8) – Elijah Ellenburg 17, Garett Fimicum 16, Nathan Mathis 10, Isaiah Ellenburg 7, Kaden Tacker 3, David Weick 3