Boys Basketball Sectional

Athenians fall to third-ranked Warriors in Sectional


LEBANON – Crawfordsville’s boys basketball season came to an end in the semifinals of the 3A Sectional 25 tournament with a 65-53 loss to Danville.

The loss to the state’s thi-ranked team in 3A closes the Athenians season at 8-15, while the Warriors move on to the championship game Saturday night with a 20-3 record.

The Athenians gave the Warriors all they wanted for three quarters, but it was that other one that spelled the difference.

Shooting well in the first half, Crawfordville shot 55 percent from the floor, including from three, and held a 28-27 lead. They erased an 18-14 first quarter deficit as Ethan McLemore’s 17 first-half points sparked the gold and blue.

The eight minutes of the third quarter, though, Danville showed why they are ranked No t3 and won the Sagamore Conference with a 7-0 record.

They used their size to take the ball inside offensively, and overmanned the Athenians in the paint. They turned the defense up a couple hundred percent and limited Crawfordsville to only two contested field goals in the period.

Getting the lead up to 19 after three, the Athenians whittled away, but could not mount the comeback.

“We got off to a really good start,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “We got some good shots, Ethan (McLemore) was really efficient and we hit some big shots. I really thought our defense was really good in that half and we rebounded well. There weren’t many fouls called and that let two physical teams settle things on the floor.”

The third quarter was all Danville, however.

“We had a couple turnovers and we missed about 10 shots in the third,” Pierce said. ‘You can’t give Danville any wiggle room.”

The Warriors went 8-of-11 from the field in that quarter, after a 3-of-11 second. They also hit all three of their three-pointers and went 6-of-7 from the line.

Crawfordsville got the shooting touch back in the last quarter, as they dropped five treys and were just under 50 percent overall.

McLemore finished with 25 points, and the senior stuffed his stat sheet, adding six steals and seven assists.

“I’m just super-proud of him,” Pierce said of his scoring leader, who was 14 points better than his season average. “Ethan has had a really good stretch here, and his athleticism can border on unbelievable sometimes.”

McLemore is one of five seniors who donned the Athenians jersey for the last time.

“I guess we can share it now, but Drake Burris has been playing with a hairline fracture in an arm since the Sugar Creek Classic,” Pierce said. “He came in every day, and every game, and did his best. His effort never wavered.”

Burris finished with six points and a pair of assists.

Tyler Fuller had eight points, six steals and an assist.

“He was our defensive specialist,” Pierce said, noting the steals. “He got into foul trouble in the third quarter, and that was when Danville made a lot of their run.”

Kaden Patton finished with a free throw and a pair of assists.

“He is our jack of all trades,” Pierce said. “He was the football team’s quarterback, and he did everything for us. He guarded the big man, set the offense and made passes, just everything.”

The fifth senior is Jacob Russell, who got a standing ovation from the crowd when he got in the game.

“He’s the guy who makes everyone better,” Pierce said of Russell.

“We are going to miss all five of these guys,” Pierce said. “They worked so hard, and they have had some success over the years. We just ran into such a shooting funk down the stretch this season. I assure you, the guys coming back are better today, and they will be better down the road, because of all the work these five guys have put in. This was a super-fun team to coach this season, and they guys kept getting after it. We have a few guys coming back, and our JV had a good year. It will be a rebuild because of all the experience we are losing, but it is something we look forward to.”

The Warriors put four in double figures.

Senior 6-6 center Evan Lawrence had 15 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Jace Scrafton and Eli Tricker each had a dozen, while Lukas McMahon added 10. Danville was 21-of 35 from the field, while Crawfordsville was 20-of-50. The Warriors were 6-of11 from deep, while the Athenians were 10-of-25. Danville was 17-of-24 from the line while C’ville was 3-of-7. Danville punished the Athenians after a turnover, scoring 21 points on Crawfordsville’s 13 miscues. They won the rebound battle 32-25. Alec Saidian led the Athenians with eight rebounds.

Danville will take on Hendricks County rival Tri-West for the championship on Saturday after the Bruins defeated Lebanon 46-38.