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Growth is the goal for Athenian basketball in 2020

Crawfordsville graduated their top scorer from a year ago in Lauren Kellerman, but that isn’t stopping the Athenians from being optimistic about the upcoming season.

“Our biggest goal is to continue to build from last season,” Tyler Smith, who enters his second season at the helm of the program, said. “Whether it shows up in the win column or not — we expect to grow together, to be competitive, to play hard, and to be a respected opponent.”

The Athenians were 6-17 last season, and graduated Kellerman’s 16 points per game, among other key pieces. Junior guards Shea Williamson and Olivia Reed are back as the top returning scorers from a season ago. Williamson averaged 7.6 points a night, while Reed chipped in 3.8 points per game.

Smith is excited about the strong junior class, that also includes Kearston Hutchens, who saw valuable varsity minutes last year, Liddy McCarty, who missed most of the season with a knee injury, and Laine Schlicher, who played junior-varsity as a sophomore.

“We have a strong Junior class- Shea Williamson and Olivia Reed are returning starters, and we will look to them for leadership,” he said. “We also have high expectations for our other juniors Liddy Mccarty, Kearston Hutches, and Laine Schlicher.”

Lauren Hale is the lone senior for the Athenians.

“Lauren Kellerman is irreplaceable, so it has to be a team effort to make up for the scoring we lost,” Smith said. “We aren’t looking for one person to take her role, we are looking for four or five girls to develop and step up together. Our offense will be similar to last season with some new wrinkles, and we’ve added one new offense that we feel fits our personnel and style of play.”

Crawfordsville will also look to freshmen Taylor Abston and Addie Hodges to help round out the lineup and provide depth.

Smith says guard play will be their strength.

“We should be able to run a little bit, and our guard play could be a strength for us,” he said. “Lack of size, depth, and some inexperience will be our biggest obstacles this year. We’ve lost a lot of players, but we’re going to play hard and continue growing.”

Crawfordsville opens the season Thursday at Seeger. The Athenians will open their home slate on Tuesday against North Putnam, and will host Tri-West next Friday.

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