BBB: Athenians remain unbeaten in SAC with gutsy win over Stars — Crawfordsville pushes its conference record to 5-0 with 74-65 overtime win at Webo
February 1, 2019
DOVER — Crawfordsville’s offense was sporadic, but just good enough in a 74-65 overtime win at Western Boone on a snowy Thursday night.
The Athenians (12-4, 5-0) overcame a 30-24 halftime deficit to take the lead midway through the third quarter, and never trailed again despite the Star’s (7-8, 2-4) resilient effort that forced overtime in the final seconds of regulation.
“We spent more time today in walk through and talking about the scouting report and emphasizing constantly once we got here multiple times,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “If you don’t win this game, it’s going to be really difficult for you to have a shot at your third goal which is to win conference, and I think that’s part of the reason we were more mentally tough. Some things didn’t go our way, we missed some bunnies down the stretch to make it go to overtime, but they were tough and it’s because it was very very important to win that game.”
Anthony Gonzalez nailed a 3-pointer, and followed it with a bucket at the 3:20 mark in the third quarter to give Crawfordsville the lead back at 36-34. It was the 13th and final lead change of the contest. The Athenians extended their lead to 43-39 at the end of the third period, and led by as many as 11 at 52-41 and 54-43 in the fourth quarter behind Jesse Johnson-Hall’s double-double. The sophomore led all scorers with 24 points, hauled in 10 rebounds, including a perfect 7-of-7 shooting in the second half for 22 points.
“I told him (Johnson-Hall) at halftime,” Pierce said. “The only way we are going to win this game is if you step up, and our sophomore did.”
Western Boone wasn’t going down without a fight though. The Stars entered the game riding a 65-64 thrilling victory over Greencastle on Monday, and hoping to climb back into the Sagamore Conference race. Cortez Stoudemire hit a 3-pointer and added a second bucket to cut the lead to 56-52 with two minutes left. The junior scored 10 fourth quarter points, and led the Stars with 15 points. A 3-point play by Cortez made it 57-56 with 48 seconds left, before a Peyton Young free throw tied it at 57 with 19 seconds left to send it to overtime. Young chipped in 14 for Western Boone.
“Guys played in passion,” Western Boone coach Bronson Lickliter said about the Stars’ effort to force overtime. “They were able to attack because 34 (Johnson-Hall) wasn’t looking to foul, and they were playing a little bit on their heels, and we were looking to attack because of that, and they gave us some opportunities.”
Unfortunately, the Stars ran out of gas, and Crawfordsville’s sporadic offense happened to fire on all cylinders in the first 3:29 of extra time. Karsten Williamson scored a bucket and hit two free throws to spark a 12-0 run to seal the victory and keep the Athenians perfect in league play. The junior added 17 for Crawfordsville, who shot 24-of-50 from the field in what Pierce called an off shooting night.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well,” he said. “Some of our best scorers just struggled. They still got into double-figures, but they didn’t shoot a very good percentage from the field. And I thought they took good shots, just for some reason didn’t fall.”
The win marked the second time the Athenians defeated the Stars this season. Crawfordsville defeated Western Boone 58-53 in the championship game of the Sugar Creek Classic in early January.
One area where Lickliter felt like the Stars improved on in Thursday’s loss from the first meeting was defensively, especially on the boards.
“We had a little more focus defensively, in spurts,” he said. “There were a couple times we gave up some transition baskets, but in spurts we were pretty focused defensively, and did a nice job of keeping their guys in front and getting stops by getting block-outs and rebounds.”
Western Boone out-rebounded Crawfordsville 47-24.
Crawfordsville plays at Riverton Parke on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., while Western Boone plays at Tri-West.