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Athenians, Chargers to battle on hardwood Friday

Crawfordsville owns a five-game winning streak over North Montgomery in boys’ basketball, but each season is different. Long-tenured Athenian coach David Pierce knows it, and first-year Charger coach Chad Arnold will experience his second county rivalry game in the last couple of weeks when the two teams square off on Friday night at Crawfordsville. “If a competitive athlete is complacent against a rival opponent, then I would question whether they are truly a competitor,” Pierce said. “The past has no effect on this game. Friday we are starting two sophomores, and only have 2 returning varsity starters from last year’s team. Our young guys are hungry and ready to play, but Coach Arnold has instilled a competitive spirit in his athletes, that regardless of how well they are playing, they will play hard. We have prepared our team for that very thing.” The Athenians enter Friday at 2-3 on the season and 0-1 in Sagamore Conference play, while the Chargers are off to their best start since 2018 with a 3-2 record and 0-1 in the SAC “We have our hands full this weekend with two really good teams,” Arnold said. “Crawfordsville will definitely be a challenge with their pressure defense and traps. They also have some really good shooters out of Ty Lynas, Karsten Williamson and Ziair Morgan, and one of the best players in the area in Jesse Hall.” North Montgomery will host Class A No. 6 Covington (4-2) Saturday. Hall leads the Athenians in scoring with 13.4 points per game, while Lynas and Morgan each chip in 10. Crawfordsville is averaging 59.2 points per game, while giving up 55.2. North Montgomery is only averaging 53.4 points per game, and only more than 49 once, but are only averaging 49.8 a game. “I believe North will play in your face defense and try to be physical the whole game,” Pierce said. “We have stressed all week of handling their physicality. We will make adjustments to use that to our advantage.” Jaron Bradford leads the Chargers in scoring with 14.4 points per game, while Preston Shaw chips in 9.6, and Jack Thompson and Kade Kobel each average seven or better. Arnold knows it will be a tough task if the Chargers want to end the Athenians run, and get their first win at Crawfordsville since the 2015-16 season, also the last time North posted a winning record. “We are going to have to play really hard and take care of the ball this weekend,” he said. “I think our guys are definitely excited and ready for the challenge in both of these match-ups.” Crawfordsville will host 3-3 Seeger on Saturday. Mounties travel to WeBo Southmont boys’ basketball will look to end a three-game skid when they travel to Western Boone on Friday for a Sagamore Conference contest. The Mounties (1-5, 1-0) will look to flip the script on the Stars (0-3, 0-1) after losing three times to Western Boone last season. “Western Boone is a big, strong, physical team that has some experience,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “We are familiar with Wright, Stoudemire, and Hole, as we played them three times last year and they all played in our two games two years ago. Last year, their physicality and toughness was the difference in each of the games. They killed us on the O boards in the sectional game, so we have to do a better job on the boards. We also have to keep them out of transition, as they want to use their athleticism to get easy buckets.” Stoudemire is leading the Stars in scoring with 20.7 points a game in losses to Covington, Lebanon, and Rossville, after a late start to the season following a second-straight IHSAA Class 2A football state title. Spencer Wright and Conner Hole each chip in eight or better, while Western Boone only averages 47.3 points per game. Southmont is led by Carson Chadd, Austin Bowman, and Logan Oppy — who all average around nine points per outing. The Mounties are allowing 61.2 points per game, including 84 in a 39-point loss to Danville last Friday, but Turner felt like his team responded well against defending sectional champion Greencastle the next night, taking a 60-40 loss. “I thought the kids responded well on Saturday vs. a very good Greencastle team,” he said. “I don’t think the final score was indicative of how close the game was throughout the majority of it. After watching the film, I thought we ran our offense the best we have all season. We had some really nice possessions and I think the guys are starting to understand what we want offensively.” Southmont will host 2-3 North Vermillion on Saturday. Mustangs host Attica Fountain Central, losers of two straight is hungry to get back into the win column with a trio of players injured. “This is a big weekend for us, as we are looking to continue to battle through some early season injuries,” second-year Mustangs coach Phil Shabi said. Senior Jake Smith is close to returning, but junior Andrew Shabi is still nursing a sprained ankle he suffered in the preseason, and could be sidelined through the rest of the calendar year. Freshman Mason Larkin, who is second on the team with 9.6 points per game is also out with a recent broken hand. Carson Eberly continues to lead the 3-4 Mustangs with 12.5 points per game as they search for their first Wabash River Conference — hosting Attica on Friday. The Red Ramblers are 1-3 on the season and 0-1 in WRC play. “Our younger players are stepping up and growing,” Shabi said. “We are looking forward to this weekend’s conference home game vs Attica and a trip to Western Boone on Saturday. We continue to focus on areas of improvement that can give our team the best chance to improve on a daily basis.” Girls Basketball All four area girls’ basketball teams will face-off against the same teams on Friday night as part of doubleheaders. North Montgomery (7-5, 1-1 SAC) will travel to Crawfordsville (2-10, 0-3 SAC) for a county matchup on Friday. The Chargers defeated the Athenians 50-41 in the consolation game of the Sugar Creek Classic back in November. North is led in scoring by Katie Rice at 10.9 points per game, but she has been sidelined the last three games with a broken finger, and the Chargers are just 1-2 in her absence. It is uncertain at this time if Rice will be available Friday. The sophomore was the leading scorer in the win over the Athenians in the SCC with 15 points. Lauren Kellerman leads the Athenians with 14.5 points per game, while Maycee York and Shea Williamson each chip in eight. Southmont (6-6, 0-2 SAC) will travel to Western Boone (4-6, 0-2 SAC). The Mounties are in the middle of a three-game skid, but face a similar opponent in the Stars on Friday. Western Boone beat Southmont 46-35 in the Sugar Creek Classic Championship back in November. Sidney Veatch has been a double-double machine, averaging 12.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game for the Mounties, while Belle Miller chips in nine points and almost seven boards. Addi Charles adds almost 10 points a contest. For Southmont, Kara Brewer, who scored 24 points for the Stars in their Sugar Creek Classic victory over Southmont, and is averaging 13.3 points per contest, missed the game against Lebanon last Friday with a leg injury, and could be sidelined once again on Friday. Fountain Central (2-8, 0-2) will host Attica (2-8, 0-1). Coming off their second victory of the season, the Mustangs will look to beat a struggling Red Ramblers team for the first time since 2017. Dakota Borman leads the Mustangs with 12.3 points per game.

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