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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Turnovers doom Athenians in loss

Crawfordsville lost an early lead and never got it back in a 73-42 blowout loss to North Putnam on Tuesday night in girls’ basketball.

The Athenians (0-2) held a 15-8 lead after three-straight baskets from freshman Taylor Abston late in the first quarter, but the Cougars (2-0) went on a 28-7 scoring run over the last nine minutes of the first half to lead 36-22 at the half.

Crawfordsville never got any closer in the second half, committing 25 of their 44 turnovers over the last 16 minutes.

“I think once we started to turn it over, we just couldn’t correct it,” second-year Crawfordsville coach Tyler Smith said. “We knew the kind of pressure they would throw at us, so we practiced a couple of days against it. We knew if we could beat the press we could get wide open lay-ups or open looks, but we’ve got to learn to stay the course when a couple of negative plays happen to not let it snowball.”

The Crawfordsville miscues coupled with 23 offensive rebounds by North Putnam led to 87 shot attempts by the Cougars. North Putnam connected on 27 of them, led by Kyla Willis’ 18-point effort on 9-of-22 from the field. Samie Hoops added 11, as the Cougars knocked down 9-of-22 from 3-point land.

Abston continued her hot start to the season with a 7-of-12 shooting night for a team-high 14 points. Olivia Reed reached double-figures with 11 points, while Shea Williamson added six. Crawfordsville was 18-of-50 from the field as a team, but made just one shot on 11 attempts from beyond the arc.

After getting a few easy buckets after breaking the Cougars’ press in the first half, the Athenians struggled to get the ball across half-court. Smith says it comes down to finding that balance between speeding up too quickly and holding back.

“It’s one the hardest things I think in this sport, the press is designed to speed you up,” he said. ‘but you have to have the confidence to know that even if I’m double-teamed, I’m still in the one control, the one with 4.5 seconds and the dribble, and teammates cutting to get open. So the challenge is learning that balance of beating the first part of the press and then do we have a look to go score or should we slow it up.”

Crawfordsville faces another high-scoring opponent on Friday when they host Sagamore Conference foe Tri-West.

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