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Area teams face early season challenges Friday

All four area boys’ basketball teams have had a chance to gauge where they are at early in the season. Some with a lot of work in front of them, and others pleased with where they are early in the season. In either scenario, each have upcoming games of importance come Friday night. Mounties host loaded Warrior squad There’s no doubt Southmont is better than their 1-3 record indicates, but the Class 3A No. 6 ranked Danville Warriors await Friday night, and will likely be the best opponent to date the Mounties have faced. “Danville is maybe the biggest and most athletic team we will see all season. They are balanced, as they have five guys averaging in double figures,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “One of the things that has impressed me the most about them watching film is their passing. They do a great job of finding each other on cuts and when doubled in the post.” Danville is off to a 4-0 start, including a 51-45 win over Greencastle, who is Southmont’s road opponent on Saturday. Senior Dillon Ware leads the Warriors in scoring with 18 points a contest, as Danville scores it at a 74.8 clip, compared to just 49.5 for the Mounties. “One of the keys for us will be taking care of the ball and avoiding live ball turnovers,” Turner added. “We also have to be much improved with our transition defense, as we cannot afford to give them easy points in transition.” While Logan Oppy leads the Mounties in scoring at 10 a game, Turner feels like Austin Bowman has made the biggest recent jump in helping them be more competitive. “He played harder on defense than I’ve ever seen him play and he was more engaged and focused — both offensively and defensively,” he said. “That was a great sign to see because if he can continue to stay locked in, he will keep improving and reach his potential.” The junior, along with freshman Carson Chadd and sophomore Avery Saunders, are all averaging around nine points per game. Athenians travel to Westside for non-conference battle Having new guys step up into leadership and scoring roles has been the key for Crawfordsville’s boys’ basketball team as they have weathered an early storm to a 2-2 record out of the gate, with unfortunate losses to Greencastle and Lebanon, and wins over Benton Central and Attica. “At this point, we are really excited where some players are really starting to step up,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “Karsten Williamson was moved to shooting guard, for more scoring, and he has really blossomed.” Trying to fill a more than 30-points a game scoring void from last season’s 18-7 team, Williamson is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.3 points per game. His replacement in freshman Ziair Morgan, is third at 11.7 points per game. “Ziair Morgan moved up to take Karsten’s spot as point guard and has surprised everyone,” Pierce said. “As a Sophomore, he has the ability to be the floor general, score at will, and push the ball in transition at a very fast pace.” Crawfordsville will travel to West Lafayette on Friday, a team Pierce has never beaten in his 10-year tenure at Crawfordsville. “We play Westside this Friday and they create major mismatches with their size and strength,” he said. “We will have to be relentless in our effort all game, to stay in front and block-out. All the while, we will have to make sure we take great shots and hopefully shoot as well as we did at Attica.” Coming off an 80-38 blowout win over Attica, the Athenians will look to stop a 2-2 Red Devils team that is coming off two-straight losses to McCutcheon and Harrison. Pierce added that a pair of seniors have stepped up of late to help the Athenians be more competitive against the tougher opponents on their schedule. “The other two players that have pushed us lately to be a more competitive team is Cole Watt and Carson Scott,” he said. “Those two are our fearless competitors that compete and lead in everything they do. Hopefully their competitiveness will rub off on the rest of the team.” Crawfordsville is averaging 60.8 points per game, while West Lafayette has been held by its opponents to 47.5 points a night. Jesse Hall leads the Athenians in scoring with 14.3 points per contest. Mustangs open up WRC play Unlike many teams around the state, Fountain Central (3-3) already has six games under the belt, and the young Mustang team will take that experience on the road to Riverton Parke for their Wabash River Conference opener on Friday. “We are excited to open conference play this week at Riverton Parke,” second-year Fountain Central coach Phil Shabi said. “Riverton Parke is much improved from a year ago with some nice young talent. It is going to be a huge challenge for us to go on the road and get a win down there.” Brandon Hazzard lead the 2-2 Panthers in scoring at 10.8 points per game, while Carson Eberly leads the Mustangs with 12.7 points a night. “Carson Eberly continues to lead our team from the point and we have also gotten good offensive contributions from Mason Larkin and Cody Linville,” Shabi said. “Taking care of the ball and maintaining defensive focus is going to be of the upmost importance for us going forward.” Chargers go on the road for pair this weekend Following last Saturday’s rebound 61-40 win over Fountain Central, the 2-1 North Montgomery Chargers have a pair of non-conference dates this weekend. On Friday, the Chargers will travel to Williamsport to take on the 2-2 Seeger Patriots. The Patriots are only averaging 41 points a game, while the Chargers are only giving up 44.3 a night. North has been led in scoring this season by Jaron Bradford with 13 points per game, while Kade Kobel and Preston Shaw are both chipping in 10 a game. The competition will only get tougher on Saturday when the Chargers travel to Harrison to face the 3-1 Raiders. Harrison is coming off a win over West Lafayette, and nearly knocked off undefeated and Class 4A No. 5 Lafayette Jeff. Jordan Walters leads the Raiders in scoring with 13.5 points per game.

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