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Ian Hensley and Mekhi Wallace lead Athenians past Chargers

North Montgomery and Crawfordsville re-newed their county rivalry Friday as the both the boys and girls met in a double-header at CHS. The girls took the court first and as many anticipated, the game went down to the wire. Madi Welch was the hero of the night and sent the Charger crowd into a frenzy as she hit the game-winning three-pointer with just one second left as North Montgomery defeated Crawfordsville 42-39 in the first matchup of the evening.

Over on the boys side Crawfordsville allowed just ten total points in the second half and ran away with a convincing 54-34 win as the Chargers and Athenians split the double-header.

Athenian defense leads CHS to third straight win

For much of the first half North Montgomery gave Crawfordsville everything they could handle in the boys game. Crawfordsville came out of the gates strong and led 15-7 after one quarter of play, however the Chargers, like the have all season, responded and made it a close game in the second quarter. Athenian coach David Pierce received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game in the final seconds of the first half. That allowed Jakob Kirsch to knock down three of four from the free-throw line and North Montgomery only trailed 27-24 at the break.

As soon as the second half started it was all Athenians as they used a 12-0 run to go up 41-27 and never looked back, holding the Chargers to just ten points in the second half.

“Our guys stepped up and decided to turn it up a notch in that thrid quarter,” Pierce said who was able to watch the game from the locker room in the second half. “In the first two quarters I thought our energy and play were both bad. Our seniors told the group to pick it up in the locker room and the rest of the guys got the message.”

Playing a complete 32-minutes has been what’s plagued North Montgomery early in the season as they fall to 0-5 (0-2 SAC). The Chargers have coach Chad Arnold looking for answers on the teams second half struggles.

“I honestly don’t know what it is about the second halves this year,” he said. “We stay competing and I like to see that, but tonight we gave up way too many offensive rebounds to them and that killed us. Crawfordsville’s a big, physical team but we have to learn to play through that level of physicality.”

Ian Hensley led all scorers in the game for the Athenians with 19 points in the win to go along with eight rebounds. Mekhi Wallace had his best game of the season for the Athenians who improve to 4-2 (1-1 SAC). Wallace ended with 18 points and 9 rebounds. The Athenians doubled the Chargers on the glass by a total of 27-13.

“Mekhi had a heck of game going 8-8 from the field,” Pierce said of Wallace. “They tried to take away our guard play but they didn’t have the size inside to guard Mekhi. Our guys are a good enough team where they will recognize a weakness of their opponent and just keep attacking it. Ian played really well too and they both just played awesome and led us tonight.”

Jakob Kirsch led the Chargers in scoring with 16 points. Colton Zachary knocked down two threes to end with six and Jarrod Kirsch ended the game with five.

While the Chargers are undersized Arnold knows that this will continue to be something that other teams try to attack his squad with and that his team will have to learn to be more physical to make up for their lack of height.

“I really like both of their (Crawfordsville’s) bigs in Hernandez and Wallace,” Arnold said. “They’re both tough to guard and keep off the glass and are very physical. We’ll show our guys what we’re doing wrong on film and hopefully they’ll learn from that. We know that people are going to be physical with us, we just have to try an match it going forward.”

Both the Chargers and Athenians will be back in action this evening at home.

Crawfordsville will play host to Seeger while the Chargers will look to pick up their first win of the season against Covington.

Crawfordsville 54, North Montgomery 34

CHS 15 12 18 9 — 54

NM 7 17 6 4 — 34

Crawfordsville (4-2 1-1 SAC)

FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Ian Hensley 6-12 5-5 19, Mekhi Wallace 8-8 2-4 18, Alex Kellerman 2-3 0-0 5, Alex Hernandez 2-4 1-1 5, Ziair Morgan 1-5 1-2 3, Cale Coursey 1-3 1-2 3, Drake Burris 0-0 1-2 1, Gavin Kenny 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 20-36 11-17 54

North Montgomery 0-5 (0-2 SAC)

Jakob Kirsch 5-10 3-3 16, Colton Zachary 2-3 0-0 6, Jarrod Kirsch 2-7 0-0 5, Kelby Harwood 2-4 0-0 4, Drew Norman 1-4 0-0 2, Ross Dyson 0-3 1-2 1, Ryder Punke 0-1 0-0 0, Nolan Graham 0-1 0-0 0, Treyce Pittman 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 12-35 4-5 34

3-Point Shooting: CHS 3-13 (Hensley 2, Kellerman), NM 6-14 (Jakob Kirsch 3, Zachary 2, Jarrod Kirsch)

Rebounds: CHS 27 NM 13

Turnovers: CHS 9, NM 12

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