Boys Basketball Preview

Athenians bring back experience for new season


Crawfordsville boys basketball had plenty of new faces to the varsity level a year ago. The Athenians are coming off a 9-15 season a year ago and a Montgomery County title but now look to get back to their winning ways here in 2023-24. David Pierce will be in his 14th season at the helm of CHS and will have plenty of returning starters from a season ago.

Cville does lose leading scorer in Cale Coursey (12.6 ppg, 5 rpg) from last season but will feature a core group of seniors who are ready to step up. Sharpshooter Drake Burris (8.3 ppg) along with Ethan McLemore (7.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.7 asts),  and Tyson Fuller (6.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg) will be a trio of seniors that the Athenians rely upon. Add in junior big man Alec Saidian (8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) as the fourth returning starter and it’s a group that Pierce is excited to see where this season takes them.

“Any program that starts off with brand new guys at the varsity level, there’s going to be a learning curve and there certainly was for us last year,” Pierce said. “We took our lumps but this year now those guys have experience and you add in their athleticism and we expect to be better. The key will be for us is building off what we accomplished last season and using what we learned this summer to our advantage.”

The Athenians will have a total of six seniors this season with the likes of Kaden Patton and Jordan Shrout joining the three returning senior starters. Sophomore Mason McCarty is expected to be apart of the CHS rotation as well. With having six seniors on the team, Pierce notes how this group has the ability to do some special things.

“Something just seems to click when you’re a senior and hopefully it clicks for all of our guys this year,” he said. “Five of those guys are returning players and all they want to do is win. We have a chance to really compete this year. Last season is felt like we were just figuring out how to play at a high level and didn’t compete in as many games as we would’ve liked.”

Cville averaged right at 48 points per game last season. Take away 12.6 of that with Coursey gone and now this season CHS is going to have to look to others to put the ball in the basket. While not one player stands out, Pierce sees that as a blessing in disguise for his team this year.

“It’s difficult on our end to try and predict and plan who is going to take the big shots in games, but it’s even harder for other teams to try and plan for it,” Pierce said. “We’re quite verse in having a lot of guys who could go for double figures on any given night. Mason and Drake are both weapons, E-Mac holds so many athletic records here at Crawfordsville, Tyson is a jack of all trades guy and then Alec emerged last season and we expect double figures out of him this season.”

Crawfordsville begins its season on Nov. 21 at home against the Greencastle Tiger Cubs. That night will be a girl/boy double header with the Lady Athenians tipping things off at 6.