Crawfordsville boys basketball coach David Pierce is in his ninth season at the helm of the Crawfordsville Athenians, and he’s won games with different types of athletes, from the remarkable to the average. This years’ team is balanced, and on any given night one of them — or all of them — can hurt you. It’s been a matter of putting the right players into the game at the right time and watching to see who is going to put the team on his back this season for Pierce, and that was the case Friday night as the Athenians downed visiting Fountain Central 68-59.
Fountain Central’s Blade Greene connected for the first shot of the night, a 3-pointer, but his basket was countered by Crawfordsville’s Will Kellerman. The quarter saw the lead change hands four times before Crawfordsville (8-4) took control – not with their starters, but with the bench.
Ty Lynas hit a jumper the first time he touched the ball, and later he knocked down a trey for five second quarter points. And Anthony Gonzalez also contributed with five first quarter points on a trey of his own and a short jumper. After eight minutes the Athenians owned a four point lead.
However, the Mustangs came to life in the second quarter. Five players scored for the Mustangs (9-7), including Andrew Shabi who knocked down two 3-pointers to go along with a first quarter trifecta. And Blade Greene kept shooting open jumpers until his shot began to fall. Greene scored twelve first half points to cut Crawfordsville’s lead to six at the half, 37-31.
The third quarter was just about as even as two teams can play. Crawfordsville got baskets from Kellerman (3-pointer), two from Saunders, two from Johnson-Hall and Anthony Gonzalez shot and scored the first free throw attempts of the game.
Fountain Central’s Ray Duncan, normally a JV player, came off the bench to hit two big shots. Duncan was pressed into service because of an injury/illness to one of the regulars.
The fourth quarter became a free throw shooting contest for the Athenians as Fountain Central tried in vain to catch up. The Athenians only sank five of eleven, keeping the Mustangs in the contest.
The Mustangs’ leading scorer, Nathaniel Butts, who entered the game scoring 14.9 points per game, was limited to four points through three quarters. He warmed up in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 10. Leading the way for Fountain Central was Blade Greene with 18 points.
“I thought we executed our game plan efficiently. It was a team win,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “Our defense was solid, especially Tray Scorza, and we took away what Fountain Central does well. And Ty Lynas did a really good job filling in for K-Dub who was battling the flu tonight. The other huge factor was Cameron Saunders. He’s become a shooting machine in the last two games and he hit six of seven field goals tonight to go along with 9 rebounds. That’s huge.”
“Unfortunately, we had to take way too many 3-pointers tonight. We like to connect on layups and jumpers but Coach Pierce was well prepared,” Mustangs coach Phil Shabi said. “When you shoot 3-pointers your success comes and goes, and tonight it went south – a result of Crawfordsville’s excellent defense.”
Crawfordsville was led in scoring by Jesse Johnson-Hall with 20 points, followed by Will Kellerman, with 16, and Cameron Saunders with 13.
Fountain Central plays at South Vermillion tonight at 7:30 p.m. Crawfordsville hosts Southmont on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m.