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Offensive woes end Athenians season

DANVILLE — It’s not a sectional secret. It’s from the basketball bible - you have to make more shots than the other team.

Crawfordsville’s basketball season came to an end in the semifinals of the Class 3A Sectional 25 tournament with a 57-39 loss to Tri-West.

For the simple reason they didn’t make enough buckets.

The Athenians, whose season finishes at 9-15, played good defense against the Bruins, who move to 12-12 overall and head to the championship game Saturday.

They out-rebounded TW by one, they were below their season average on turnovers, and didn’t commit too many fouls.

What failed Crawfordsville was their shooting, as they hit only 31 percent of their attempts. Misses came from short and far.

The Bruins, on the other hand, had the touch at the Danville gym, hitting one better than half their field goal attempts, and when you discount eight missed three-pointers, they were deadly inside, to the tune of 61 percent from two-point range.

Add in a 10-of-11 night from the stripe for Tri-West, and it means they will be playing for their fifth sectional title in the last 10 years.

“I’m so proud of our effort,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “We were scrappy, but the little things make such a difference in the tournament. We played hard, but there is playing hard and then playing hard to compete. We would go for a rebound, and they would use a body to block us out. Their defense did bother us a bit, but in the end, you just have to hit some of those open shots. “We had good looks from 15 feet out and good three’s, but we couldn’t get them in . That makes it hard.”

The teams traded baskets early, but the Athenians went cold while the Bruins kept hitting about every other one.

Before long, it was a nine-point lead at the end of one, 11 at halftime and 19 at the end of three.

The win was the second of the season for TW over Crawfordsville.

The 48-44 regular season game had Bruins, and Sagamore Conference, leading scorer, Max Robertson, missing due to illness.

The junior was fit as a fiddle in the semi’s, going for 24 points.

He was the shooter, and sophomore Wesley Ward was the mop-up man as the lanky center added a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Athenians were led in scoring by Drake Burris. The junior got all nine of his points in the first half. Cale Coursey and Tyson Fuller each had six as did Ethan McLemore. For the game, C’ville was 17-of-54 from the field, 4-of-19 from long range and only 1-of-4 from the line.

They held a 33-32 rebound advantage, with Coursey, Fuller, Mason McCarty and Alec Saidian each grabbing five. They held a 12-6 advantage in second-chance points.

They had 11 turnovers, but the Bruins had only eight, and Tri-West had 14 points off the mistakes, while CHS had nine.

The loss ends the season for Crawfordsville, but also ends the basketball careers for four seniors, as Coursey, Zeke Cardenas, Kaiden Underwood and Blake Pruett all saw their last varsity action, and were on the floor together to end the game, the season and their careers.

“All four of our seniors are such great guys,” Pierce said of the foursome. “They all showed such high character. Pruett, Underwood and Cardenas had very different jobs as seniors. There were underclass players who needed playing time, and their (the seniors) role was to push them. Coursey carried us so many times this season. When we needed a bucket, of a stop, he was the guy. He was the vocal leader and just did so much. He came in for every summer workout even though he couldn’t participate because of his baseball injury. He was there.”

“All four of these guys will be valuable citizens,” Pierce continued. “Their level of maturity was awesome, and they will be leaders and successes.”

The start of next season was on the minds of the coaching staff as the managers were picking up the uniforms from this one.

“It was a weird summer,” Pierce said of last offseason. “We had injuries, sicknesses, personal issues that caused a lot of missed time. We ended up not putting in enough work to be at the point where our talent and effort could win more games. The effort was always there, and a lot of guys had good seasons, but some small mistakes cost us some games, and that came from not putting the work in before, when we can raise that skill level.”

The coach, who won his 150th career game Tuesday against Monrovia and is only the third Crawfordsville head coach to reach the 150 win plateau, had a clear message for the guys who will put the uniforms back on next fall.

“We know the recipe, we have the ingredients,” Pierce noted. “The challenge is to put in the time to raise our skill level to that point where our effort wins those close games. We are so lucky to be coaching and playing in the Crawfordsville system. We have great kids, great families, and a great administration supporting us. We just have to put in the effort.”

“Time will tell.”


Score by Quarters

TW 16 14 13 14 - 57

CHS 7 7 12 13 - 39

Tri-West (12-12)

FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Oldham 0-4 2-2 2, D.Miller 3-6 0-0 6, Robertson 11-17 2-3 24, Ward 4-5 2-2 10, Gardner 3-6 0-0 7, Rench 1-4 0-0 2, Cole 1-1 2-2 4, Sorgi 0-2 0-0 0, Dakin 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan 0-0 0-0 0, Yarber 0-0 2-2 2, Young 0-0 0-0 0, B.Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-45 10-11 57.

Crawfordsville (9-15)

C.Coursey 3-11 0-0 6, Burris 4-9 0-0 9, McLemore 2-5 1-2 6, Fuller 3-9 0-0 6, Saidian 2-10 0-2 5, McCarty 1-3 0-0 2, Patton 0-0 0-0 0, Cardenas 1-3 0-0 2, Underwood 1-3 0-0 3, Pruett 0-1 0-0 0, J.Coursey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-54 1-4 39.

3-Pt FGS: TW 1-9 (Oldham 0-3, Rench 0-1, Robertson 0-1, Gardner 1-4); CHS 4-19 (C.Coursey 0-1, Burris 1-5, McLemore 1-3, Fuller 0-1, Cardenas 0-2, Underwood 1-3, Saidian 1-4).

Rebounds: TW 31 (Ward 13, Robertson 5); CHS 32 (C.Coursey 5, Fuller 5, McCarty 5, Saidian 5, McLemore 4).

Second Chance Pts: TW 6; CHS 12.

Turnovers: TW 8; CHS 11.

Pts Off TOs: TW 14; CHS 8.

Paint Pts: TW 40; CHS 22.

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