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Basketball: Full slate of SAC games set for tonight

For the first time all season, all 16 Sagamore Conference girls and boys basketball teams will be in action against each other today. The girls’ teams will close out their regular seasons, while the boys are all fighting for positioning in the league standings. Locally, North Montgomery will travel to Western Boone, while Southmont will play at Lebanon and Crawfordsville heads to Frankfort. Danville will play at Tri-West with the Bruins and Warriors playing for the girls’ SAC title as both teams enter at 6-0 in league play. Boys Crawfordsville (9-4, 3-0) is looking to remain unbeaten in conference play against a struggling Frankfort (1-12, 0-3) team. The trip north is the first of five straight road games, and coach David Pierce is excited about the challenge. “We like it, we are excited about getting to the next level and that means having to play well on the road,” he said. “Frankfort is always a tough place to play, and they will be hungry. Every conference opponent is tough.” Frankfort has dominated the series the last 30 years, 19-8, but the Athenians won last year 64-58. The last time Crawfordsville won at Frankfort was 2011. North Montgomery (2-13, 0-4) is searching for its’ first conference victory since 2016 as they travel to face Western Boone (6-6, 2-2). The Chargers have shown marked improvement each week, and first-year coach Andrew Evertts believes they can outsmart the Star’s athleticism. “We will just have to make sure we do a good job of getting back in transition, guarding the drive and taking care of the ball when they pressure us,” he said. “In order to beat more athletic teams, we preach to our guys that we have to play a really fundamentally sound game.” Western Boone owns a 21-19 advantage in the series over the last 30 years, and won both of last years’ meetings. Southmont (2-14, 1-3) is looking to bounce back from a 76-51 loss to Crawfordsville on Wednesday, searching for its’ first win over a team other than North Montgomery when they travel to Lebanon (7-8, 4-2). The Tigers have dominated the series 27-2 over the last 30 years, with both wins coming at home. Southmont coach Jake Turner knows it won’t be an easy task as the Tigers record doesn’t necessary reflect their talent. “Lebanon is a well-coached team that is fundamentally sound,” he said. “They really play hard and do a great job on the defensive end. They have some experience back from last year and a good group of freshmen. With two teams that don’t score the ball really well, one of the big keys will be limiting turnovers and giving ourselves an opportunity to score each trip down the floor.” Girls Crawfordsville (2-19, 0-6) will look to win its’ first conference game since they defeated Frankfort 48-33 in January 2016 when they travel to face the Hot Dogs (8-14, 1-5) tonight. Athenians coach Tony Bean thinks they will see a lot of similar stuff as they did against Southmont this season, a team they went 1-1 against. “When Southmont played Lilly Ward and Miller together, that’s what we are going to see with Frankfort,” he said. “They’ve got two big girls inside that are strong, and they’re going to try and feed the posts, and we know that going in.” Frankfort owns the series advantage 8-7 over the last 15 years. North Montgomery (3-18, 1-5) is searching for its’ second conference win, while Western Boone (13-9, 4-2) hopes to solidify its third place finish in the SAC. The Stars’ beat the Chargers 59-17 back on Nov. 16, and are riding a 69-67 win over Class 3A No. 6 Benton Central on Wednesday night, in which Madison Jones scored a school-record 50 points. Jones averages over 25 points per game, while North Montgomery has a team offensive average of just 34.9. The Chargers haven’t beaten the Stars since the 2011 sectional. Southmont (6-14, 3-3) and Lebanon (11-10, 3-3) will battle for fourth place in the SAC. Lebanon won 46-31 last year at Southmont, but the Mounties won the last matchup at Lebanon in 2017, 42-41. The Tigers own 17-2 advantage over the Mounties in the last 15 years.

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