Bluejackets hold off Crawford County for first win of the season

Kale England rises for a jump shot against Crawford County

By Noah Dalton

Mitchell High School was able to secure their first victory of the season on Friday night against Patoka Lake Athletic Conference foe Crawford County, despite a rocky second half that saw a 10-point halftime lead shrink down to as low as three in the final 10 seconds of play.

Carried by a balanced team effort, with multiple Bluejackets scoring in double figures, the team was able to go on to win 56-52 by game’s end.

“You’ve just gotta find ways to win with as young as we are, especially against a conference opponent. You know, I’m gonna take, take any win that we can get,” said Mitchell head coach Jackson Ryan.

The Bluejackets came out of the gate swinging, scoring 17 in the first quarter, largely led by three triples from junior Dawson Irwin on 75% shooting from beyond the arc and six points from senior Brendan Tolliver, who sank all three of his shot attempts in the quarter.

Mitchell carried that momentum through the second, scoring another 18 on 53% shooting as a team. Ben Seitzinger led the Bluejackets in the quarter with eight points.

Brendan Tolliver rises for a shot attempt against multiple Crawford County defenders.

Heading into halftime, Mitchell led the Wolfpack by double digits, 35-25, despite a big first half from Wolfpack guard Isaac Nickelson, who shot a perfect 6/6 from the free throw line on his way to 14 points.

Crawford County was able to crawl their way back into the game in the second half, after scoring for the Bluejackets slowed considerably.

In the third quarter, Mitchell was only able to score just six points on 30% shooting. The Bluejackets also struggled to control the ball in the early minutes of the second half, turning the ball over seven times in the third quarter, doubling their number of total giveaways in the entire first half.

This is not the first time this season the team struggled to hold on to a lead in the second half, after they lost their season opener to fellow PLAC opponent Springs Valley, who they led by twenty points in the fourth quarter, before ultimately losing the game.

With just two seniors on their roster, Mitchell’s roster lacks varsity game experience compared to many other squads. Ryan believes matchups like the one they played on Friday will prove valuable for his team, as he expects it will improve their ability to play confidently in tight situations and close out games in the future.

“We’re a young team. It’s recognizing situations, I think that we’re at our best when we’re running and making plays and playing aggressive and confident. But, when you’re closing games out sometimes you have to play a different style and that’s something obviously we’re still getting used to,” Ryan said.

“This just kind of takes time. We’re a young, young group, especially in the backcourt and we’ve just got to learn. Win or lose tonight, as long as we are getting better and learning and growing from these situations, that’s all I’m worried about at the end of the day, but it’s great that we were able to get the win,” he continued.

Dawson Irwin dribbles into traffic against Crawford County

It was not only Mitchell who had a hard time getting it done in the second half. Points came at a premium for both teams in the third, with the Wolfpack also posting their lowest scoring quarter of the game with just 10 points, shooting 40% from the field.

Crawford County continued to knock on the door of the Bluejackets in the fourth, inching down their lead further and further behind a monsterous performance from Nickelson, who himself nearly outscored the entire Mitchell team in the quarter with 13 points in the final eight minutes of play, compared to their 15. He went on to finish the game with 29 total points to lead all scorers.

Each time Nickelson and the Wolfpack attempted to overtake control of the lead in the fourth, the Bluejackets were able to answer and maintain their advantage. The biggest difference in the period in favor of Mitchell was their ability to get to the free throw line, where they were able to earn 14 attempts at the stripe, compared to just two for Crawford County.

The game came down to the wire, with the Wolfpack down by three with a chance to tie the game in the final 10 seconds. They were able to inbound the ball to their top scorer, Nickelson, who got a clean look on a step-back three but was unable to knock it down.

Bluejackets junior Bryson Shoults pulled in the rebound and was fouled with 1.4 seconds remaining on the clock. Shoults missed his first attempt, but drained the second making it a two possession ball game and ultimately securing an important victory for his team.

Ben Seitzinger is fouled on an inside shot attempt against Crawford County

It’s probably most important for our confidence. The kids are buying into what we’re preaching, it’s a lot easier to buy into things whenever you’re winning ball games. So, that’s the biggest thing is just getting that win so they can have that confidence,” said Ryan. “They’re a great group of kids. Very coachable, good in school, in the classroom. I don’t have to worry about them getting in trouble or anything like that. So young, but they’re very hungry to grow and just great that they can be rewarded for those efforts tonight.”

Final Stats


  • Brendan Tolliver – 10 points, 5/8 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Kale England – 0 points, 0/4 shooting, 0/0 FT, 11 rebounds
  • Ben Seitzinger – 15 points, 6/9 shooting, 3/4 FT, 4 rebounds
  • Dawson Irwin – 14 points, 5/8 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Austin Mosier – 5 points, 1/4 shooting, 3/4 FT, 0 rebounds
  • Gavin Robinson – 2 points, 1/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 0 rebounds
  • Aiden Pridemore – 7 points, 1/3 shooting, 4/6 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Bryson Shoults – 3 points, 1/2 shooting, 1/2 FT, 2 rebounds

Crawford County

  • Isaac Nickelson – 29 points, 10/17 shooting, 9/10 FT, 10 rebounds
  • Zander Sattler – 4 points, 2/5 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Klayton Grizzel – 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
  • Rease Allen – 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 0 rebounds
  • Tanner Conrad – 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Laken Belcher – 12 points, 5/12 shooting, 1/1 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Blake Seibert – 6 points, 3/4 shooting, 0/0 FT, 5 rebounds
  • Nash Stroud – 1 point, 0/3 shooting, 1/2 FT, 1 rebound

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