County Boys Basketball

Athenian boys pull away late for 12th straight win over Chargers


Crawfordsville High School was the place to be in Montgomery county on Friday night. The North Montgomery Chargers and the Crawfordsville Athenians re-kindled the county rivalry in a girl/boy double-header. The girls got things going and after an even first quarter which saw the teams even at 11-11, the Chargers pulled away for a 36-21 win to get the night started well for the Charger fans. In the boys game Crawfordsville used a hot shooting first quarter to build a lead and time after time hold the Chargers at bay when they got close. The Athenian boys had a strong final quarter to pull away from the Chargers 46-31.

In the boys game, Crawfordsville came out on fire drilling four threes in the opening quarter to get the home crowd roaring. The home team led 14-6 after a quarter and a Drake Burris three to begin the second eight minutes saw the lead go up to 11. However the Chargers never backed down and used a small 6-0 run to cut the lead to five a 21-16. A Jordan Shrout basket gave CHS a 23-16 lead entering halftime. Both teams settled in the third quarter with neither team really grabbing the momentum and the host Athenians took a 31-25 lead into the final quarter. Down the stretch the Chargers just were never able to string together shots as CHS picked up their 12th straight win over the Chargers.

Cville’s defense clamped down on the Chargers top scorers in Kelby Harwood and Jarrod Kirsch. Harwood ended the game scoring 10 but it was a very difficult 10 points while Kirsch was held to just three. Coach David Pierce applauded his team’s effort on the defensive side of the ball after the county win.

“That was our main focus coming in to play great defense,” Pierce said. “I think the only open shots that Jarrod got were deep threes. He was a key and we held him to three. Holding Kelby to 10 points is all Tyson Fuller because he drew that matchup and did a great job not giving him any space. I was super proud of the guys for the win. We came out of the gates red hot from three and that opened up some things. KP (Kaden Patton) was huge for us coming over and doubling in the post, Mason McCarty was getting his first taste of this rivalry and we put the ball in his hands late in the game. He really grew up tonight in this game. When you hold a team to 31 you should win most games.”

Anytime North Montgomery (2-3, 0-2 SAC) cut the Athenian lead down to five or six, Crawfordsville had an answer. Cville bent at points but the never broke.  A pair of Noah Hopkins free-throws cut it to 33-27 at the beginning of the fourth, but after that Crawfordsville out-scored the Chargers 13-4 the rest of the way until the final buzzer.

“That’s part of having a group of veteran guys like we have,” Pierce said. “We work on a drill of getting a score, getting a stop on defense then go score again. That drill paid off tonight. I was also proud of how we weathered the storm in the second quarter when both Ethan (McLemore) and Alec (Saidian) both got into some foul trouble and we controlled the clock. We felt like we couldn’t get to halftime quick enough with those guys sitting on the bench.”

Charger coach Chad Arnold noted the offensive struggles in his team’s loss.

“When you only score 31 you’re not going to win hardly any games,” he said. “We got where we needed get on offense most times but we didn’t finish the possession with a make or when we got in trouble we didn’t kick it back out. We missed a ton of shots but that’s what we’ve done too often. We’re going to have to start making shots if we want to win. We played to much one on one and that’s not what our offense is about.”

For Crawfordsville (4-2, 2-0 SAC) the Athenians were led by Ethan McLemore’s 11 points. Alec Saidian scored 10, Drake Burris, Mason McCarty, and Tyson Fuller chipped in six, Kaden Patton five and Jordan Shrout two.

Both Crawfordsville and North Montgomery will have quick turnarounds on Saturday as both team will be at home. CHS will host the Seeger Patriots while the Chargers welcome the Covington Trojans.

“Our guys want these county games so bad, but now we have to turn to Covington,” Arnold said. “We have to focus on winning the next game because that’s what’s important. We have to keep growing as a team too. I like some of the things we did but just have to put some things together.”

Pierce every season calls the Seeger game a trap game and knows his team will have their hands full.

“Coach Collins is one of my favorite coaches to coach against and he does a great job over there,” Pierce said. “They have one of the quickest guards we might see all year. I’m glad it’s at home because this game is always tough with playing North the night before in an emotional county game. We have to be focused coming into tomorrow and go back to war tomorrow.”