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Madi Welch plays hero to lift Chargers over Athenians in final seconds

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.

Madi Welch calls game

Madi Welch had been struggling for most of the season heading into the county matchup with the Athenians. That didn’t stop the senior guard from drilling one of the biggest shots of her career to snap a two-game skid for the Chargers who improved to 8-5 (2-1 SAC) with the thrilling win.

The Athenians jumped out to a 9-7 lead after one quarter, but the Chargers answered in the second using a 6-0 run to take a 15-14 lead into the locker room. From then on the Chargers dominated the glass led by Katie Rice’s game-high 16 rebound performance. The Chargers built as big as a seven point lead at 27-20 but Crawfordsville wouldn’t go away quietly. A back and forth final quarter which saw multiple ties came down to the final minute.

Shea Williamson who can normally be relied on from the free throw line missed both foul shots with ten seconds remaining. The Chargers snagged the rebound and coach Ryan Nuppnau let his players decide the game by not using a timeout. North Montgomery worked it inside into Rice who saw the defense collapse, then proceeded to kick it out to Welch who knocked down the game-winner.

“We started off the game doing everything we could to lose,” Nuppnau said. “We committed silly fouls and had some turnovers. We really took over in the second half and their pressure didn’t bother us too much. The girls were able to keep their composure at the end and that was nice to see. We didn’t want to call a timeout and let them set up their defense and kicked it right back out and Madi knocked it down with confidence.”

Rice ended the game leading all scorers with 19 points to go along with her 16 rebounds. Welch added seven and Hadley Broadwater and Lydia Dugard each had six while Piper Ramey scored four.

For the Athenians, they fall to 3-8 (0-4 SAC). In an intense matchup like the rivalry between the Chargers and Athenians coach Tyler Smith talked about how tough it was losing in the fashion his team did.

“It hurts to lose like that knowing that our girls played extremely hard and followed the game plan,” he said. “We showed a ton of fight to come back and take the lead late, and that sort of fight is all you can ask for as a coach. We just didn’t finish when we needed to and it’s disappointing for our girls to come up short.”

Williamson led Crawfordsville with 11 points in the loss. Olivia Reed added in nine while Taylor Abston had six. Both Elyse Widmer and Kearston Hutchens had five and Liddy McCarty recorded three for the Athenians.

Rice continues to be a force for the Chargers with another outstanding performance. While her play has been consistent all season, Nuppnau mentioned how the other players are starting to use Rice’s success to benefit the entire team.

“Katie’s just a tough player all-around,” Nuppnau said. “It’s hard to defend her and that’s where our other girls have to know that. It’s starting to open for the rest of them and it showed tonight with Welch being ready to take that three.”

The “little things” continue to plague Crawfordsville such as missed free-throws and boxing-out on the defensive end. The little things start to add up as Smith mentions and in a close game everything is starts to be magnified.

“We had a few missed free-throws in the fourth not just the two that Shea missed,” he said. “We also had a few missed assignments on Katie and it came back to hurt us. A great player like her you hope to contain and not allow to have a monster night like she did.”

Crawfordsville will look to quickly forget about the sting of this loss as they will host Delphi this afternoon. North Montgomery will compete in the annual Kitchen Classic at Delphi on Tuesday and Thursday next week. The Chargers drew Rossville in game one which takes place at 9 a.m.

North Montgomery 42, Crawfordsville 39

NM 7 8 12 15 — 42

CHS 9 5 9 16 — 39

North Montgomery (8-5, 2-1 SAC)

FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Madi Welch 3-11 0-0 7, Hadley Broadwater 3-8 0-1 6, Jadelyn Phillips 0-1 0-0 0, Katie Rice 7-14 5-8 19, Lydia Dugard 2-6 1-2 6, Madison Banta 0-1 0-0 0, Piper Ramey 2-5 0-0 4; Totals 17-47 6-11 42

Crawfordsville (3-8, 0-4 SAC)

Olivia Reed 4-13 0-0 9, Elyse Widmer 2-2 1-1 5, Kearston Hutchens 1-9 3-3 5, Liddy McCarty 0-0 3-5 3, Shea Williamson 3-7 4-8 11, Taylor Abston 3-8 0-0; Totals 13-40 11-17 39

3-Point Shooting: CHS 2-19 (Reed, Williamson), NM 2-7 (Welch, Dugard)

Rebounds: CHS 22, NM 41

Turnovers: CHS 12, NM 22

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