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Athenians look to carry momentum into sectional

CHS ended the regular season 17-5 and have plenty of momentum on their side as they look for their first sectional title since 2014.

At this time in the season, and with sectional play just around the corner, every boys basketball team wants to be playing their best basketball. It’s one thing to say you want to be playing your best, and a completely different thing to actually go out on the court and do it.

Crawfordsville is one of those teams that can say they are playing their best basketball of the season. The Athenians will head into the post-season with an overall record of 17-5 and winners in eight of their last nine games. Crawfordsville notched big wins over Northview, Lafayette Central Catholic, Danville and Covington in that stretch.

“We’re by far playing our best basketball that we have all season,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “There’s a ton of confidence and positivity brewing with our guys right now. We’re 17-5 despite some really rough patches where we struggled. That’s because we have tough kids who rebound and play defense. When you add us scoring the ball like we have been, that changes everything. When you have a veteran group like ours you want them to have this confidence.”

Crawfordsville drew Tri-West in the opening game of the Class 3A Sectional 25 at Frankfort. The Athenians edged out a 41-36 victory Feb. 11 over the Bruins on the road. The winner between the Athenians and Bruins will face North Montgomery on Friday in the first semi-final game.

“We’re excited about the way things turned out,” Pierce said. “We shot 23% from the field the first time and were still able to beat them in their place, so we feel good about playing them again. They’re not the same team that we played back then but neither are we. We’re both playing a lot better and it’ll be an interesting re-match.”

The Bruins come into the re-match with the Athenians with a record of 13-9 and average right around 55 points per game. Ethan Depinet (11.9), Alex Covey (11.4) and Dylan Bear (11.6) lead the way for the Bruins in the scoring department.

The Athenians are also averaging right around the 55 point mark on offense, but only surrendering 47 a game on defense compared to 51 for the Bruins. Senior Ian Hensley leads CHS with 13.3 points a contest and also grabs 4.8 rebounds to go along with 2.2 steals. Ziair Morgan (10.4), Alex Kellerman (9.6) and Mekhi Wallace (8.8) help round out the scoring for the Athenians.

With a potential third meeting with the Chargers looming, Pierce gave a nod to his team’s sectional experience and how that will factor in if the Athenians meet up again with a county rival.

“First off it’s hard to beat any team three times in a season,” he said. “But I’d much rather get a game under our belt because we can get the sectional nerves out of the way. We’ll have experience in a sectional on our side and that matters in the post-season. North has a lot of young guys who may not have been in this environment before.”

A sectional title would be a crowning achievement for the Athenians — something CHS has been in search of since the 2014 season.

“This is a special group of guys and they’ve earned the right to go out there and compete for a sectional title,” Pierce said. “We still have to take it one game at a time and I know they’re going to go out there and give it their best shot.”

The Bruins and Athenians will get underway at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Frankfort.

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