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BBB: Athenians and Bruins set for SAC showdown, North at Frankfort, and Southmont at Fountain Centra

Crawfordsville is the hottest boys basketball team in the Sagamore Conference, a 13-4 overall record, winners of six of their last seven and 5-0 in league play. Tonight, they will welcome Tri-West, who is 8-8 overall and 4-0 in the SAC for a showdown on the hardwood for first-place rights in the league. On Tuesday, the Athenians saw a six-game winning streak come to a halt with a 64-56 loss at Class A No. 3 Central Catholic, and each player and coach had turned their focus to Tri-West as they left the floor in defeat “When we walked into the locker room after the game, every thought by every person was on Friday’s game,” Athenians coach David Pierce said. Crawfordsville has checked off two goals from its’ list this season with a county title and Sagamore Conference crown, and hoping to check off a third with a conference title. The Athenians enter the game being led in scoring by Jesse Johnson-Hall with 14.6 points per game, while Will Kellerman chips in 10.6, Anthony Gonzalez 9.2, and Karsten Williamson 9.2 The Bruins enter with four players averaging double-figures, and that coupled with their athleticism is Pierce’s biggest concern. Depth might be the key to success for the Athenians, something they’ve relied heavily on all year. “Tri-West has four guys who score in double-figures and a couple who are close to that,” he said. “They shoot a lot of three’s and are big and athletic, but they aren’t very deep, so we hope that our bench can make a big difference.” Dawson Wolfe, Blake VanSlyke, Taylor Gardner, and Luke Robertson all average between 10 and 11 points per game for the Bruins. Overall, the Athenians average 60.6 points per game, while they give up 53.4 points a contest. Tri-West averages 59.5 points a game, and gives up 60.2. Against common opponents, Crawfordsville is 5-1, and Tri-West is 4-1, with both losses coming against Greencastle. North at Frankfort North Montgomery will travel to Frankfort on Friday, looking for its’ second Sagamore Conference victory of the year. The Chargers are 4-14 overall, and 1-4 in league play, but have won two of their last three games. The Hot Dogs are 1-15 overall, and 0-5 in the SAC. Frankfort is winless since their season-opening win over Clinton Prairie in November. Chargers’ first-year coach Andrew Evertts knows how misleading Frankfort’s record is, and hopes to see his team continue their momentum on the road in a tough environment. “We are just continuing to work on our fundamentals, We really haven’t changed our practices or preparation up that much the last 4 games, we just feel like our guys are finally starting to understand what it takes to be successful out on the court,” he said. We have played with a little more confidence and energy lately, which has helped us tremendously. We have just been preaching to the guys how misleading Frankfort’s record is. They are not a terrible team, and winning on the road in the SAC is never an easy task regardless of who you play.” Southmont at Fountain Central Southmont will have a rare Friday night off before traveling to Fountain Central on Saturday. The Mustangs travel to Parke Heritage for a key Wabash River Conference game on Friday night. The Mounties are 3-15 on the season, but have shown signs of improvement of late, despite a 47-33 home loss to Attica their last time out. “We have focused on ourselves this week so far,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “I was disappointed in our effort on Saturday, so we challenged the kids to be tougher and they rose to the occasion and we had our best practice of the year on Monday.” Nathaniel Butts leads the Mustangs (11-9) with 15.3 points a game, while Aaron Barnett is also in double-figures at 13.4 points a contest, but they have traded wins and losses the last seven games, and have struggled to find much consistency. “Our focus right now is identifying areas for improvement within our team defense first,” Fountain Central coach Phil Shabi said. “Once we iron out those details, we become more specific about our opponent’s tendencies.” The Mustangs score at a 60-point a game clip, but give up 54.8 points per game. Justin Howard averages 17.6 points of the Mountie’s 40.7 a game average.

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