A hot-shooting Crawfordsville team rolled to an 84-43 win over Southmont in the second semifinal game of the 14th Sugar Creek Classic, and will advance to the championship game tonight.
The Classic, sponsored by Franciscan Health Sports Medicine, will have the Athenians looking for their first-ever back-to-back titles and their fourth overall championship after they simply ran away from the Mounties.
The win over their county rival moves Crawfordsville to 6-3 on the season while South drops to 2-7.
After trading baskets early, the Athenians closed the first period with a 5-0 run. They opened the second with an 11-2 streak, and then closed the second and started the third quarters with a 22-2 run.
“It was back and forth early,” C’ville coach David Pierce said, “but Jesse Hall hit a couple shots in the first and Ty Lynas came off the bench to spark the second quarter run. They were getting assists from Karsten Williamson, and with those three really good players hot, we pulled away.”
Lynas led all scorers with 19 points, as Crawfordsville logged a season high points total. Hall had 15 and Ziair Morgan had 10, as 10 players put points in the scorebook and all 12 on the roster grabbed at least one rebound.
For the game, the Athenians were 34-of-61 from the field as they put a lot of shots off the glass from close in.
They also hit 10 three-pointers, out of 24 attempts, to put the Mounties into a gully they could not come out of.
“We had great play from our sophomores,” Pierce said. “We give an MVP award after a win, and tonight it went to Ian Hensley, who had nine points and held (South leading scorer Austin) Bowman to only four. Morgan had 10 and four steals. With Jesse and Williamson opening things up, the sophomores can loosen up and get into the flow of the Sugar Creek Classic.” Hensley also had a team-best five rebounds.
The Athenians also used their press and trap to force 19 South turnovers, but even bigger was the 26 points they scored after those turnovers.
“It was too many mistakes made over and over again,” Mounties coach Jake Turner said. “Our problems start with non-coachable stuff. We don’t communicate well enough, we didn’t execute the game plan. That comes from within. Crawfordsville did exactly what we thought. We knew we couldn’t give them layups or three’s, but that is what we gave them. We played too fast offensively. It falls on me that we didn’t execute the game plan. Tomorrow it is about pride. Crawfordsville is a great team, but not 40 points better than us.”
South was led in scoring by Carson Chadd and Logan Oppy with nine points each. They were 16-of-49 from the field, made only one of their 13 three-point shots and were 10-of-15 from the line. They had 31 rebounds to Crawfordsville’s 38. Avery Saunders had eight boards.
The Mounties will battle North Montgomery in the consolation game tonight, starting at 6 at Crawfordsville High School. They own a 49-45 win over the Chargers earlier in the season.
“We are familiar with them,” Turner said. “They are a physical team and an experienced team. They will be ready. We need the guys on our team to be ready also. I hope tonight makes our guys angry.”
Crawfordsville will battle Western Boone for the paddle that goes to the Classic winner, and the Athenians will try to be the first team to repeat since North did it the first three years of the event.
“Our defense played well tonight,” Pierce said. “We held South to about 32 percent from the field. We communicated well, our bench played well, we blocked out. I’m hoping we can bring a lot of confidence to the game Saturday. WeBo is a very dangerous team. They have guys who are just tough competitors and they have been successful in other sports. They are just tough-nosed kids. We hold ourselves accountable, and the kids just have to bring it. We have to play smart Saturday.”