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Athenians grind out win over Tri-West

LIZTON – Two teams heading in opposite directions met Friday at Tri-West. The Bruins came in losers of four of their last six, while the Athenians have won 12 of their last 14. A win for the Athenians gives them a chance to stay in the chase for a Conference championship, while a win for Tri-West gives them momentum headed down the stretch run.

Crawfordsville used a huge fourth quarter, outscoring the Bruins (9-8, 2-4 SAC) 20-13 down the stretch to pull out the 41-36 victory. The win was Crawfordsville’s fifth in a row over Tri-West.

After a disastrous shooting exhibition by both teams in the first half, the Athenians shot just 13 percent, 3 of 23, however, the Bruins couldn’t pull away shooting just 21 percent or 5 of 23. Tri-West led just 9-3 after one and 14-11 at the half

“We used everything and the kitchen sink to get this one tonight,” Athenian head coach David Pierce said. “We both struggled shooting.”

“We felt like if we packed it in and forced them to shoot from the outside, we would have a chance,” he continued.

Tri-West opened up their biggest lead of the game just 2:30 minutes into the third quarter at 20-11 before the Athenians found their rhythm offensively.

They’d outscore Tri-West 10-3 the remainder of the period thanks to their senior leaders. Ziair Morgan had four, so did Alex Kellerman, and Gavin Kenny finished with a running left hander to cut the Tri-West lead to 23-21 after three.

Pierce took advantage of their quickness late in the third and the fourth. “We took Mekhi out, because we felt like we had to play four guards to be quicker. We were able to get some good looks late, because their bigs had to come out and guard our guards. That was the difference in the end.”

The seniors continued the scoring into the fourth. Morgan added 10 more in the quarter, Kenny had five, while Hensley and Kellerman each had two-a-piece.

“Our kids grinded and didn’t quit,” Pierce said. “It was a good adversity win against a good Tri-West team that plays everyone hard.”

“Ziair was phenomenal down the stretch. He stepped up and hit some huge free throws late. Just seniors stepping up.” He continued.

Morgan led the Athenians (14-4, 4-2 SAC) with 18. Kenny finished with 12 and Alex Kellerman six. The big stat of the night was Alex Hernandez’s 18-boards.

“Super proud of Alex,” Pierce said of the senior. “18 boards? Unreal effort.”

Crawfordsville’s back in action tonight as they’ll host the Parke Heritage Wolves, last year’s state finalist in Class 2A.

“It’s going to be another grind it out type of game like tonight,” Pierce said. “Luckily this one’s at home.”

Crawfordsville 41, Tri-West 36

Score by Quarters

CHS 3 8 10 20 - 66

TW 9 5 9 13 - 36

CHS (14-4, 4-2 SAC)

FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Ziair Morgan 6-16 4-4 18, Alex Kellerman 2-12 2-2 6, Alex Hernandez 0-4 2-4 2, Ian Hensley 1-4 0-2 2, Mekhi Wallace 0-5 0-0 0, Gavin Kenny 5-9 0-0 12, Cale Coursey 0-1 1-2 1; Totals 14-51 9-12 41.

Tri-West (9-8, 2-4 SAC)

Max Robertson 3-10 1-2 7, Alex Covey 3-8 1-2 7, Ethan Depinet 3-7 0-1 6, Dylan Beat 0-8 4-4 4, Drew Miller 1-5 0-3 2, Grant Oldham 3-6 0-0 8, Sam Goodin 1-6 0-0 2; Totals 14-50 6-12 36

3-Pt Shooting: CHS 4-19,

TW 2-22 .

Rebounding: TW 43 (Covey 17), CHS 26 (Hernandez 18)

Turnovers: CHS 7, TW 12

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