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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Strong defensive effort not enough for Athenians

WEST LEBANON — The offensive output was unable to match the defensive effort for the Crawfordsville girls’ basketball team in a 25-17 season opening loss at Seeger on Thursday night.

Crawfordsville (0-1) held Seeger to 7-of-32 from the field and forced 18 turnovers, but the Patriots connected on 10-of-15 from the free throw line, while the Athenians made just one trip to the charity stripe and missed both attempts.

“Defensively we couldn’t have asked for a better start,” Crawfordsville coach Tyler Smith said. “That’s a good team no matter who is on the court, especially offensively they are usually a pretty well-oiled machine. I told them that everything about that game defensively is something to build on.”

The Patriots (1-0) were without the services of Riley Shrader, but it didn’t matter as Aubry Cole picked up the slack with a game-high 11 points. Seeger led Crawfordsville 7-2 after a quarter behind five points from Cole.

The Athenians had their best chance in the second quarter, holding Seeger without a field goal, but were only able to connect on 2-of-9 shots and trailed 12-6 at the half. A Kearston Hutchens bucket at the start of the third quarter made it 12-8, but Cole ended a 10:03 field goal drought for the Patriots with back-to-back baskets.

Despite the 23% clip from the field, Smith was satisfied with the shot selection — something he says they will emphasize all season.

Freshman Taylor Abston led the Athenians with a 4-of-7 shooting night and eight points, while junior Olivia Reed added seven points. Smith believes the offense will start to click once they get a few games under their belt.

“There’s definitely some things to work on, but outside of the jitters for a few of them and getting more minutes,” he said. “I think once they settle down, I think our offense will be fine.”

Seeger also dominated the boards, snagging 35 to Crawfordsville’s 21. With rebounding and free throws the difference maker, Smith was encouraged by the half-court defense keeping the Athenians in the game.

“We would like that defense to create a little more offense,” he said. “but as far as holding it down in the half-court if we can do that and give ourselves a change, we may not necessarily need the big shooting nights to stay alive.”

The Patriots host South Newton on Tuesday, while Crawfordsville will host North Putnam.

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