Junior Taylor Abston will be the focal point of the Athenians this season as she’ll be the lone returning starter for CHS in 2022-23.
A new season in 2022-23 for Crawfordsville girls basketball brings about plenty of change. The Athenians after an 8-16 season a year ago graduate five seniors in Shea Williamson, Olivia Reed, Liddy McCarty, Kearston Hutchens and Laine Schlicher. Williamson was the do-it-all player last year leading CHS in points (11.8) rebounds (7.5), assists (3.6), steals (2.7), and blocks (1.5). Reed scored 8.6 a contest with McCarty and Hutchens both scoring six.
For this season CHS does return junior Taylor Abston who averaged seven points and 6.6 rebounds a year ago as they will rely on her to provide a bulk of the scoring as well as senior Elyse Widmer.
Tyler Smith is in his fourth season at the helm of the Athenians and knows it will be difficult to replace those seniors from a year ago but thinks his team can still find ways to have success.
“It’s going to have to be a complete team effort to replace what was one of our better seasons in the last 10 years,” Smith said. “We lose a lot of leadership, scoring and ball handling but we can’t look to just one or two people to carry the load. On the bright side we look forward to this season because playing time will be wide open. It will challenge us to work hard everyday and really reward the girls who are working hard and together.”
Newcomers to the Athenian varsity roster alongside Abston and Widmer include senior Abby Cox, juniors Addison Hodges and Madi Hedrick, Sophomore Riley Gardner, Freshman Molly Pierce and sophomore Celeste Moore. Smith believes this team unlike previous years has the ability to play as many as 10-deep. In the first few games of the season while still figuring out what everyones role might be Smith knows he can rely on Abston to lead the way.
“She’s had a big role the last two years and that will only be bigger this year,” he said of the junior. “We’ll look to her to lead and we’ll have to find ways to get her the ball as she’s kind of a Swiss army knife for us. She’s really worked on her outside game and can shoot it from three so she’ll be all over the place for us. Alongside Taylor we feel like senior Abby Cox is ready to step down on the block and provide a good presence down low and rebound too. I think you’ll also see a good season from Elyse Widmer in her senior year. See had a good role last year as our sixth man and she always brings a ton of energy.Having this many girls that could see the floor isn’t something we’re really used to and is something we’re looking forward to depth wise.”
A season ago was a step in the right direction for CHS as they competed for the Sugar Creek Classic title and picked up a victory over county rival North Montgomery in the sectional opener. The sectional this is revised and now sees a majority of the SAC in Lebanon, Tri-West, Danville, Western Boone, Monrovia and Cascade. The goals for Smith and this new-look Athenian team are slightly different with a few still staying the same.
“County first and foremost is always going to be one of our goals,” he said. “This year I believe it’s wide open and within our reach. We want to try and stay as competitive as we can. At this point I honestly don’t know what our ceiling is. All I know is that we’re going to work our tails off to reach whatever it might be. We’re looking forward to the challenge as we have a great group of girls.”
The Athenians kick off their 2022-23 season on Friday when they travel to take on Seeger. Next week will feature a pair of home games for CHS when they host North Putnam on Tuesday before hosting Tri-West on Friday for their Sagamore Conference opener.
2022-23 CHS GBB ROSTER
Sr. Abby Cox
Jr. Addison Hodges
Jr. Madi Hedrick
So. Riley Gardner
Sr. Elyse Widmer
Jr. Taylor Abston
Fr. Molly Pierce
So. Litzy Huesca
So. Celeste Moore
Fr. Christina Susdorf
Fr. Olivia Hedrick
Fr. Delaney McCarty