Senior Olivia Reed iced Crawfordsville’s 34-31 victory over North Montgomery with a late steal and score. Reed added 10 points as she and her fellow seniors defeated the Chargers for the first time in their careers
DANVILLE – Crawfordsville had been waiting for this re-match with North Montgomery ever since Dec. 17 when the Chargers won the game on a buzzer beating three. The Athenians and Chargers drew one another in the opening round of Class 3A Sectional 25. This time it was the Crawfordsville’s chance at redemption and they took advantage of the opportunity and were able to extend their season with a 34-31 victory.
For the better part of three quarters the Chargers were able to hold their lead every time the Athenians got close. However, near the end of the third quarter Crawfordsville was facing a 27-18 deficit and proceeded to score the final eight to get right back into the game and trail by just one.
A Shea Williamson three gave the Athenians their first lead at 32-21. Crawfordsville sealed the game as senior Olivia Reed stole the ball from Madi Welch and laid it to put the nail in the coffin.
The victory for the Athenian seniors is their first in their careers over the Chargers and for CHS Coach Tyler Smith, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We’ve been so close over the years and to do it in a win or go home situation like this, I’m just so happy for our seniors,” Crawfordsville coach Tyler Smith said. “The night they beat us on our home court, I told them I hope we draw them in the sectional. It was just great to see us bounce back and get redemption.“
Shea Williamson led the Athenians with 12, Reed added in 10. Fellow senior Kearston Hutchens added in five as did Sophomore Taylor Abston. When it mattered most with the game and season on the line, Crawfordsville’s two seniors stepped up when they were needed the most.
“When Olivia stole it and laid it in, that was the moment I thought we had it,” Smith said. “You can’t simulate that moment for a senior and all of our seniors played incredible and I’m just glad we can continue to play.”
Hutchens had the tough task of guarding Piper Ramey who has stepped up in the scoring department for the Chargers. Hutchens held Ramey to just five points and Smith made sure Hutchnes got the credit she deserved.
“She’s stepped up big for us on the defensive end all season for us,” Smith said of Hutchens. “She held a player whose been really hot as of late to just five points and that was huge for us tonight.”
For the Chargers they end their season with a record of 12-11, their first winning season since 2013. They also finished in the top half of the Sagamore Conference with a 4-3 record. Despite the bitter taste that stays in their mouths, the Chargers have a lot to be proud of this season.
“This game doesn’t define our overall season,” Nuppnau said. “These girls have accomplished a lot and for them to put a season like this together is pretty special. You add in what we’ve been through with injuries and COVID and more injuries and that makes it even more special and its amazing what they’ve accomplished.”
Madi Welch in her final game of her career led the Chargers with 14 points in the game for the Chargers. Fellow senior Lydia Dugard scored 10.
Along with Welch and Dugard, the Chargers graduate two other seniors in Hadley Broadwater and Katie Rice. The four seniors have been primary starters for North Montgomery for the last three seasons and made their final season their best of their careers.
“These girls are great people and are awesome,” Nuppnau said of his four seniors. “You always wish that you could have them awhile longer. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and that was what happened tonight.”
Crawfordsville improves to 8-15 on the season with the victory and will now take on Danville in the sectional semi-finals back at Danville tomorrow at 7:30. The Warriors go the better of the Athenians in their SAC matchup earlier this season in a 54-30 loss for CHS. Smith knows that his team will have to move on from this emotional win and get ready for a difficult Warrior squad.
“We’re just happy that we’re still playing,” he said. “We will definitely celebrate a hard-fought earned win and then focus on putting our best foot forward tomorrow night to give us the best chance we can. I’m just happy our season isn’t over, and we get at least one more night with this team.”