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Slow start sees Athenians fall in season opener

It wasn’t the season opener that the Crawfordsville girls basketball team hoped for Friday night as they hosted the Seeger Patriots. A 21-5 deficit for the Athenians after the opening quarter swelled to 31-8 at halftime and the hole was dug just too deep. The Athenians did show fight in the final quarter outscoring Seeger 13-5 but ultimately fell 55-29.

The Patriots employed a full-court pressure style defense to begin the game and Crawfordsville couldn’t manage to break it committing 13 first half turnovers and never really getting into any kind of rhythm on offense. Third-year coach Tyler Smith preached the message to his team to expect pressure coming into the game.

“That’s what we told them what was likely to happen,” he said. “To expect pressure and expect physicality; Seeger is always a tough-minded team. I thought coming in that we were fully prepared for it, then you start getting some early game jitters, we’ve got to find a way to focus when you committ early turnovers. That first half overall just killed us, but our energy was a lot different in the secon half, but we have to find a way to put four quarters together.”

Aubry Cole led all scorers in the game for the Patriots with 19 points while Riley Shrader chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds. Shea Williamson was the leading scorer for the Athenians with nine of her ten points coming in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Taylor Abston added in eight, Keartson Hutchens five, and Olivia Reed and Liddy McCarty both scored three for Crawfordsville.

Playing four complete quarters is a message that Smith has been asking of his team dating back to last season.

“Seeger’s a good team, but we don’t feel like the final score is indicitive of the difference between our teams. We can’t get too high or too low out there. We know that we’re going to have brighter days ahead of us and to get where we want to go it’s going to have to be a complete 32-minute effort. We got to that point eventually near the end of last season, but we want to get that sooner this year.”

Despite the struggle early on, Smith did take away positives from his team’s season opening performance.

“Shea really started to play her typical style of ball in that fourth quarter with being active and aggressive,” Smith said of his senior guard. “Defensively we improved in the second half so we’d like to adjust a little quicker in that regard moving forward, but we did make them work harder.”

The test for the Athenians (0-1) continues as on Tuesday they will begin a three-game road trip and travel to take on North Putnam followed by a visit to Sagamore Conference favorite Tri-West on Friday.

“It’s going to be more of the same kind of style we saw tonight next week,” Smith said. “They (N. Putnam and Tri-West) both like to apply pressure. These first two weeks are pretty tough, but win or lose we have to use it to get tougher ourselves.”

Seeger 55, Crawfordsville 29

CHS 5 3 8 13 — 29

SP 21 10 19 5 — 55

Crawfordsville (0-1, 0-0 SAC)

FG-FGA FT-FTA Pts: Olivia Reed 0-6 3-4 3, Elyse Widmer 0-2 0-0 0, Kearston Hutchens 2-5 0-0 5, Liddy McCarty 1-3, 1-2 3, Shea Williamson 4-8 1-2 10, Taylor Abston 4-9 0-0 8 1

Seeger (1-0)

Riley Shrader 6-9 3-6 16, Emma Brenner 0-2 0-0 0, Addison Shrader 2-7 2-2 8, Aubry Cole 8-19 0-0 19, Anna Moore 3-6 1-2 7, Paige Laffoon 2-2 1-2 5, Ellen McDonald 0-1, 0-0 0,

3 pt shooting: SP 5-21 (Cole 3, A. Shrader 2), CHS 2-13 (Hutchens, Williamson)

Rebounding: CHS 17, SP 27

Turnovers: CHS 18, SP 10

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