Friday night will be another county rivalry game and this time it will be North Montgomery taking on Crawfordsville. The two rivals will be battling for the 83rd time, three games shy of the number of times North and South have met as they battled for the 86th time two weeks ago. That series has North leading 45-41. The Crawfordsville vs. North series is even closer. The Athenians own a slim 42-40 advantage. Crawfordsville has won the last five meetings by an average of 19.8 points. None of the games have been closer than 11 points. Prior to the Athenians recent success it was the Chargers who had won five in a row, and like their counterparts, all were by double digits. In fact one would have to go back 12 games (Dec. 20, 2013) to find a game between the two county and conference rivals that has been decided by less than 10 points. Crawfordsville won that meeting 37-30. Only five of the last 23 meetings have seen the final margin of victory be under 10 and one two were one possession decisions (one was by one point and one was by three). That is quite a contrast to the first part of the series. With five of the first seven games being decided by double digits the series then were into a stretch where those of us who were around may remember as some of the best county basketball games ever. From March 1, 1974 through Dec. 21, 1984 virtually every time these two teams met meant a tight exciting game. During that 20-game stretch Crawfordsville won 12 of the meetings. However, only six of the 20 games were won by more than 10 points. A total of 12 of the 20 were decided by one, two or three points (one possession) and each team won six of those games. There was even a stretch of five games during the 1978-79 season through the early part of the 1981-82 season in which the teams had four games which were all decided by one point and the fifth game during that stretch was a four-point decision. It started when Crawfordsville beat North Montgomery 55-54 in the sectional on March 3, 1979. As you may recall that was the same Athenians’ team which advanced to the championship game of the Semistate at Mackey Arena. On Dec, 14, 1979 the Athenians earned a 50-46 win. North Montgomery then got revenge with a 50-49 win on Dec. 12, 1980, before Crawfordsville won 61-60 on Dec. 23 and the final game in at stretch was won by North Montgomery on Dec. 18, 1981 when the Chargers won 52-51. Only that those four one-point decisions, there has only been one other game which has been decided by one point, that coming on Jan. 6, 2012 in the Sugar Creek Classic (and in overtime) by a 70-69 decision in Crawfordsville’s favor. Home court has not been a real strong advantage in the series. Crawfordsville has won 17 of 29 games played on its home floor, while North Montgomery has only won 24 of 46 games played on its floor. Combined the home team has a 41-34 record. There have been seven games played on neutral floors. The two rivals have faced off 17 times in sectional play, with Crawfordsville owning a slight 9-8 advantage. North Montgomery’s largest margin of victory in the series is 40 when it earned a 65-25 win in the Sugar Creek Classic on Jan. 10, 2015. Crawfordsville’s biggest margin of victory was a 69-39 win just last year on Dec. 14. The most points scored in a game in the series belongs to Crawfordsville when it won a 90-78 win in sectional play on March 4, 1994. North Montgomery’s most points scored in a game in the series came on Dec. 14, 2007 when it earned an 87-61 win. Barry Lewis has been playing or covering sports in Montgomery County for more than 40 years and enjoys helping to keep our sports heritage alive with his bi-weekly column for the Journal Review.