Crawfordsville boys’ basketball has won 41 IHSAA Sectional titles, but it took the 2014 team getting hot in March to end a 25 year drought and give the Athenians their first crown since 1989. ‘Back Where It Belongs,’ the Journal Review read on March 10, 2014 after the Athenians defeated Western Boone 58-53 to claim the Class 3A title at Frankfort. Hank Horner, a 2014 Crawfordsville graduate and later named Journal Review Player of the Year, led the Athenians with a game-high 18 points. “It’s incredible,” he told the Journal Review after the game.” I’ve never felt anything like this before. Not a single guy on this team has cut down the nets before.” PJ Shafer added 15 points. Shafer and Horner joined senior teammates Shad Conrad, Jordan Miller, Nick Page and Connor Smith in helping give coach David Pierce his third winning season in just his fourth year. “This feeling is awesome,” Shafer said after the game.
“The atmosphere tonight was incredible. It’s hard to describe. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.” Smith added 11 points off the bench, including 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. “It feels amazing,” he said. “There’s no other way to describe it. I feel like I fulfilled my role on the team tonight.” The sectional win came as a surprise for many as the Athenians posted a 5-16 record in 2012-13 and started the 2013-14 season with four straight losses. They also entered the sectional on a four-game losing streak. “Last year they were 5-16, started off the season 0-4 so really they were 5-21,” Pierce said after the game about the seniors. “They believed in the work they put in over the summer . . . we earned it.” The Athenians also picked up a 51-45 win over Frankfort in the semifinal to advance to the sectional championship. Crawfordsville finished the season 12-11, losing 54-48 to Edgewood in the regional.