BBB: Athenians prep for Friday showdown with 61-49 win over Clinton Prairie
February 13, 2019
Crawfordsville used Tuesday’s 61-49 win over Clinton Prairie as the last warm-up for their Friday Sagamore Conference matchup at Danville, where they will play for sole ownership of the conference championship.
A blazing first quarter, followed by a tepid second, finally turned into a solid second half for the Athenians, who move to 15-5 on the season, while the Gophers fall to 12-7.
“If we had played a game like this last year, and won, we would have been very happy,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “It speaks volumes about this team that we won, but are disappointed in parts of our game.”
After Crawfordsville’s junior varsity put 104 points on the scoreboard in their win, the varsity looked like it was their turn in the first quarter.
They jumped out to a 20-11 lead as shots fell, turnovers were forced and everything looked rosy. Seven buckets were scored in the paint.
The second quarter didn’t go quite that well, as not a single paint point was scored, and only two 3-pointers found the mark. Coach Pierce’s erase board somehow survived a timeout, as the Gophers scored the last 12 points to make it 26-25 CHS at intermission.
“We fell in love with the three, and we are not that good a 3-point shooting team,” Pierce said. “Everything was going so easy and so well that we took our foot off the gas. It was frustrating.”
But the home team regrouped at halftime and found the gas pedal. They went on a 12-0 run that pushed the lead to eight and they never looked back.
“We made a couple substitutions that really made a difference,” Pierce said. “One was bringing in Carson Scott. He didn’t score any points but he drew three charge calls and had a steal. He was guarding all their best players all night, and finally got (Grant) McGraw contained.”
McGraw, CP’s leading scorer, had nine points at halftime and took two shots in the second half.
Crawfordsville was led in scoring by Jesse Johnson-Hall. The sophomore put up 26 points on only 14 shots. He also grabbed four rebounds, had a block, two steals and two assists.
“He’s the most efficient guy we have,” Pierce said. He was getting pushed around in the second quarter and we never got him the ball. We changed that in the second half.”
Karsten Williamson was also in double-digits with 16 points. The junior was also everywhere else, with two put-back offensive rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
“He’s the most improved player in the conference,” Pierce said of the guard.
For the game, Crawfordsville was 25-of-45 from the field, 7-of-19 from long range and 4-of-8 from the line. They lost the rebound battle 25-21. Cam Saunders led the Athenians with five. Crawfordsville finished with nine turnovers but forced 18, scoring 21 points off those miscues.
The Gophers were led by McGraw’s 12 points. Trevor Funk had 10. The visitors were 20-of-39 from the field, 6-of-15 from deep and 3-of-6 from the line. Bailey Good had a game-best six rebounds.
Clinton Prairie finishes the regular season with games next week against Western Boone and Fountain Central.
All Crawfordsville eyes are now on Friday night, and the trip to Danville where the Athenians will play for their first outright Sagamore championship since the spring of 1973.
“Danville is a lot like us,” Pierce said. “Both teams are pretty even in personnel, scoring and stats. It will come down to which team can maintain their mental focus.”
The Crawfordsville jv won their game 104-62, putting six players into double-figures.
Leading the way was Ty Lynas with 17, followed by Cole Watt with 16, Ziair Morgan with 15, Ian Hensley with 13, Andrew Martin with 12 and Mekhi Wallace with 11.
“The varsity battles those jv guys for a couple hours every day,” Pierce said. “They have bought into ‘Team’ and they make the varsity better.”