Jesse Hall and Ty Lynas have been playing basketball with one another for 10 years.
The dynamic duo are now seniors for Crawfordsville and are key components for an Athenian team with high aspirations this season.
Lynas has stepped into a starting role and shown improvement across the board. Coming off a season where he averaged 10.7 points per game, two rebounds, and just one assist, Lynas through seven games this season is the Athenians leading scorer scoring 18 points, second on the team in rebounds with 5.3 and the team’s leading assist man with 4.3 per game.
“He was trying so hard on offense last year that sometimes he just didn’t take good shots,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “Also sometimes he chose not to play defense. He’s been our most athletic player these last two years and finally this year he chose to use that athleticism to rebound, get assists and defend at a high level. A switch just went off in his head and its clicked this year.”
“Coach Pierce definitely got mad at me at points last year when I didn’t play defense,” Lynas said. “That was one thing I knew I had to work on over the summer if I wanted to get better for this team.”
Hall, on the other hand has been the star for the Athenians since his sophomore year. A season that gave Crawfordsville its first Sagamore Conference title since 1987, but came up short of winning a sectional title for the first time since 2014.
The 6-foot-8 forward made it a priority this offseason to better his game and help his team get that coveted sectional championship.
“Understanding that this is my last year I knew that I have to do anything I can do help this team get to where it can go,” Hall said. “Losing a couple of seniors from last year I also knew that I’d have to step up my game. I focused putting on some weight and just getting bigger and its definitely paid off.”
Pierce knows the talent that Hall possesses and has seen his development this year. Hall is right behind Lynas averaging 16 points and grabbing 6.6 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the field. Hall, the two-time defending Journal Review Player of the Year, has started to use height and strength to get more inside shots.
“We knew he could shoot it from the outside,” Pierce said. “We showed him some tape of how he could score inside more and he took that to heart. He’s decided that he wants and needs to do the little things well for us. Both him and Ty have realized that and that’s a big reason for their excellent play so far.”
Hall and Lynas both have fed off one another’s great play this season and it’s one of the big reasons the Athenians find themselves sitting with a 5-2 record early on. Playing together for the past decade has allowed the duo to build tremendous chemistry and when one of them makes a great play, the other is right there to congratulate him.
“The best part about playing with a guy like Jesse is that he gets me excited to go out there and want to play well,” Lynas said. “I trust all my teammates out there and in return they trust me. That’s what’s so cool about this team is that we all want each other to succeed.”
“Ty was right there with me all offseason when I was lifting or just when I was wanting to get better on the court,” Hall said. “The confidence and connection that we have on the court is pretty cool and he makes it easier out there on the court for me.”
Another thing that Pierce contributes to both Lynas and Hall’s success and development have come from the competitive drive that his whole team has. Whether that be a freshman or a fellow senior the Athenians depth and talent have made the duo compete that much harder.
“The best thing to happen to our program is that we’ve had younger kids who have been competitive and want it just as bad as our older guys,” Pierce said. “They know they have to play well on both ends or our younger guys will come in. That goes for Jesse and Ty too. Both of them though (Lynas and Hall) have seen how competitive our other guys are and that makes them want to lead and win with guys like we have. Everyone on this team wants it and Ty and Jesse are those guys that lead by example.”
Both Lynas and Hall have taken major strides this season. Along with rest of the talent on the Athenians roster, Crawfordsville looks poised to be a major player come the postseason as they look to capture their first sectional title in seven years.