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Athenians ready for sectional despite late season skid

Crawfordsville enters the Class 3A Greencastle Sectional on a three-game losing streak, but coach David Pierce feels like the Athenians are playing their best basketball of the season. “I think the guys have figured out what works,” he said. We play well when everyone plays defense with focus and effort and when we attack the rim and take shots inside 15 feet we score more points. We are playing our best basketball right now. Effort and focus will be the key.” Crawfordsville will face Tri-West in the first Wednesday night quarterfinal at 6 p.m. The Athenians are 12-10 on the season, and led by Jesse Hall’s 15.6 points per game, while Karsten Williamson adds 10.8 and Ty Lynas 9.9. Taylor Gardner leads a struggling 9-13 Tri-West team with 16 points per game, and is one of the most dangerous 3-point shooters in the sectional. The senior has hit 49 triples on the season. Alex Covey chips in 11.6 points per game, while Luke Robertson is also in double-figures with a 10.4 average. Pierce knows the Athenians will once again have to be physical if they want to replicate a 79-63 dominating win over Tri-West they secured back on Feb. 14. “We have to be the enforcers,” he said. “We will have to be physical and not back down at all. If we avoid driving to the rim, refuse to post-up, and shoot more than 15 3’s, our season will end early.” The Athenians have connected on 53% of their 2-point shots, and just 32% of their 3-point attempts. As Crawfordsville looks for their first sectional title since 2014 against a strong field, Pierce knows they must take it one quarter at a time. “Because of our youth and quiet personalities, we have to take each quarter one at time,” he said. “It’s do or die now, so we cannot have runs of not scoring or getting stops. Our guys are really excited and look forward to Wednesday.” The Crawfordsville/Tri-West winner will play Danville (19-4) and Monrovia (18-5) in Friday’s second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. On the other side of the bracket North Montgomery (12-10) awaits the Frankfort (6-16) and Greencastle (15-7) winner. Crawfordsville is 3-2 against the sectional field, including an 83-52 loss to Danville on Feb. 21.

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