Crawfordsville’s seniors made Senior Night very special with a 68-56 Sagamore Conference win over Danville.
All six seniors scored. In fact, the seniors scored 65 of those 68 points as the Athenians run their record to 16-5 on the season and end the conference campaign at 5-2. It is the fourth straight year for a top-three finish.
“These guys play hard for each other,” C’ville coach David Pierce said. “Danville is literally a historic program, and as the game wore on, our seniors showed why they are successful. They got tougher. They were banging bodies with the Danville big guys. We never let Danville get us back on our heels and make a run at us. It was a great game, and I’m happy for the guys. I’m very proud of our kids.”
After trading baskets through a fast-paced first quarter, the Warriors, who fall to 16-4 overall and 4-2 in the league, led 18-17 after those eight minutes.
It was their last lead of the game.
An 11-2 run through the middle of the second quarter expanded the small Athenians lead to double-digits and they kept the Warriors away from that streak that opponents have known and feared for decades.
It got to 49-45 early in the fourth, but a 5-for-5 shooting streak put the game back out of reach.
“It was a gritty game,” Pierce said, “but that has been kind of our m-o this season. It’s a testament to the seniors especially. Every kid had crucial moments. Every player stepped up and did their job. It’s how we have found a way to win 16 games this season.”
The six seniors honored before the game, Ziair Morgan, Alex Kellerman, Ian Hensley, Gavin Kenny, Alex Hernandez and Mekhi Wallace, all had key moments.
Morgan got the scoring started in the first with two triples and three rebounds.
Hensley hit two three’s and two more for 10 in the second quarter.
Three of Hernandez’ nine rebounds turned into second-chance points.
Kenny came in for big defensive minutes, in addition to scoring a key fourth-quarter bucket.
Kellerman owned the fourth quarter, going 5-of-5 from the field, 4-of-5 from the line and grabbing three rebounds.
Finishing with a game-best 26, Kellerman was three times better than his season average. Wallace and Hensley each had a dozen.
“Ian played phenomenal defense on (Danville and Sagamore leading scorer Brady) Ruggles,” Pierce said. “Ruggles could have easily scored 45, and he kept Ruggles at his average.”
Ruggles finished with 24, four better than his average.
“Kellerman had a heck of a game as well,” Pierce said of the fourth-quarter blitz. “Considering he has battled two knee dislocations and a sprained ankle, it’s great for him.”
“Alex Hernandez has just had two phenomenal weeks,” the coach continued. “He had 18 rebounds against Tri-West, he shut down Central Catholic’s big guy on Wednesday and tonight he shut down (Warriors second-leading scorer Tyler) Dotsin to nothing in the fourth quarter and one rebound. He is a big reason for our success.”
“Ziair did so many little things tonight,” he continued, “and then Wallace just went physical with Danville’s football-sized guys. Our defense wore them out a bit, made some shots fall short.”
The win was also a personal first for Pierce, who notched his first win over Danville in his 12 seasons. It goes along with his first wins over West Lafayette and Central Catholic earlier this season. The win also ends a 19-game losing streak to the Warriors and is the first win over them at the current basketball arena. The last home win traces back to the 1930’s.
With the win, the Athenians finish one game behind league co-champs Lebanon and Southmont.
The Senior Night win was not without a moment of reflection.
“I was a little sad,” Pierce said, because this is the last time these seniors get to play a game in this gym. I didn’t talk about Senior Night before the game. We as coaches and these guys have put in so much work since they were in second grade. There are the lessons, the headaches, the celebrations. We don’t put the word ‘family’ on t-shirts because we are already family. This is a special group, both on and off the court. They are a special group to get these wins with, and I am lucky to coach them.”
The season continues for the seniors and the team, as a trip to Covington next Friday will finish the regular campaign, and then it’s sectional time at Frankfort, where the same Warriors, along with four other teams, will all be waiting.
CRAWFORDSVILLE 68, DANVILLE 56
Score by Quarters
DV 18 14 9 15 - 56
CHS 17 24 8 19 - 51
CHS (16-4,5-2 SAC)
FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Ziair Morgan 3-9 0-0 8, Alex Kellerman 9-13 6-7 26, Ian Hensley 5-12 0-0 12, Alex Hernandez 2-6 1-2 5, Mekhi Wallacce 6-8 0-0 12, Cale Coursey 0-2 3-4 3, Gavin Kenny 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-51, 10-13 68
Danville (16-4 4-2 SAC) Caden Collins 1-2 0-0 2, Tyler Dotsin 5-12 1-2 11, Braxton Fulwider 0-2 2-2 2, Brayton McMahon 6-12 1-2 14, Brady Ruggles 10-21 1-1 24, Jace Scrafton 1-2 1-1 3, Evan LAwrence 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 6-8 56
3-Pt Shooting: DAN 4-19 (Dostin 0-1, Fulwider 0-1, McMahon 0-6, Ruggles 3-11); CHS 6-18 (Morgan 2-7, Kellerman 2-5, Hensley 2-4, Coursey 0-2)
Rebounding: DAN 27 (Dostin 10, Scrafton 8); CHS 33 (Hernandez 9, Kellerman 6, Wallace 6)
Turnovers: DAN 16; CHS 15