Southmont’s Olivia Gray and Crawfordsville’s Taylor Abston will be key pieces for each of their teams as CHS and SM battle in the 16th annual Girls Sugar Creek Classic.
The rosters may look different but it’s still a county rivalry. The county will see its first official county matchup of the winter season on Friday as Southmont and Crawfordsville girls basketball square off in the 16th annual Girls Sugar Creek Classic at CHS. A season ago the Athenians and Mounties met up in the first game and it was CHS who defeated the then reigning SCC champions.
This season the two teams will meet up again with both teams looking to punch their ticket to the championship game on Saturday night.
Southmont enters the game with a record of 2-3 while the Athenians picked up their first win in thrilling fashion on Tuesday to get their record to 1-3 on the early season. For the Mounties they’ve had some time off since their game, (Nov. 10 vs Fountain Central) and head coach Dan Burkman has used the time primarily to focus on his team and where they need to improve.
“Those first couple days we just wanted to focus on us and how we can get better because there were still some things we wanted to clean up,” Burkman said of the layoff. “The last few days we’ve focused on Crawfordsville. We went to their game on Tuesday (also vs Fountain Central) so our girls could get a live look at what they do.”
Last season wasn’t just a win in the Classic for CHS, it was a blowout win as they defeated the Mounties 45-29. With plenty of returning girls on the team from a season ago, Burkman noted how they haven’t mentioned last year and are just laser-focused on the task that stands in front of them on Friday.
“They’re pretty motivated and I don’t think they’ve really even talked about last years game,” he said. “It’s a new season and things are different than they were last year. We have the expectation to go in there and make a lot of noise.”
On the flip side for the Athenians it’s a fairly new roster with plenty of girls getting their first meaningful playing time in the Classic. Crawfordsville coach Tyler Smith notes how this weekend while it will provide a measuring stick for where is team is, it’s also one to enjoy as the weekend brings out the best in all four teams.
“For me and for the team I think this is the best weekend of the season,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of excitement around it and we’re really looking forward to hosting it as well. Anytime we play South is always a fun because it usually comes down to the wire. They’re a physical team with a lot of great athletes. We’re going to have to be ready to go.”
The Athenians bring momentum of a thrilling 33-32 win over FC into Friday night. CHS is now believing that they can close out some tight games and that experience may pay off in a big way over the course of the weekend.
“With our squad currently that win was big because it showed them that they’re capable of a lot of things,” Smith said. “If we lose it’s a completely different story. Whether it’s momentum or confidence it’s big to carry into this thing. Although we’ve seen before that with county and Sugar Creek you can throw records and everything like that out the window.”
Burkman noted how they’ll have to be ready for anything when taking on CHS. Taylor Abston currently leads the team in scoring with just over 10 points per game. Crawfordsville surrounds her with a lineup of Elyse Widmer, Riley Gardner, Addison Hodges, and Madison Hedrick. However if the Athenians are going to have success, it’ll likely be because of the play of junior big.
“We obviously have to know where she (Abston) is at all times,” Burkman said. “She crashes the boards well so not letting her get many offensive rebounds will be key too. We’ll try to apply some pressure to them and see how they respond. Also we have to execute and finish on offense. Our defense has carried us so far. I think our offense is getting better each game, but I’m still waiting for it to take off.”
The Mounties and Athenians will get things underway in game two on Friday which will begin after the conclusion of game one between North Montgomery and Western Boone at 6. The two winners on Friday will play Saturday night for the Sugar Creek Classic title while the two losers will play in the consolation game beginning at 6 on Saturday.