GREENCASTLE – A quick 7-0 start helped Crawfordsville open up the 2022-23 season with a wire-to-wire win at Greencastle, claiming a 58-48 victory and a 1-0 start to the new campaign.
“I’m super proud of our effort,” Crawfordsville head coach David Pierce said. “We played at a pace that gassed (Greencastle’s) shooters in the end as they have great shooters. We felt like, for three quarters, we got them up-and-down, get their legs tired, get some missed shots and hopefully pull away. Our turnover number was good, we outrebounded them and we played hard which, as juniors, we should.”
Cale Coursey opened proceedings with a three and added a layup around a layup from Ethan McLemore for the quick start, one only tempered by two fouls called on Drake Burris.
Nathan Sutherlin hit a three in reply for the hosts but three-straight baskets from Tyson Fuller pushed the lead to 10 at 13-3.
Sam Gooch scored the final six points of the quarter for Greencastle, helping to keep the gap at seven at 18-11 aft er a quarter of play.
Two more Gooch baskets saw the Tiger Cubs close to within three early in the second quarter at 20-17 and a Cole Hutcheson three trimmed the gap to one at 23-22.
Crawfordsville did not give up the lead, however, as Coursey hit a jumper, Kaiden Underwood scored off a steal and Alex Saidian scored inside after the hosts closed to within a point twice more.
Cousey ended the half with a three to give the Athenians a six-point lead at 32-26.
Once freed from the bench, Burris made up for lost time in the third quarter, scoring all 11 of his points in-a-row for the visitors, the last of which put Crawfordsville up 45-33, eventually taking a 47-37 lead into the final eight minutes of play.
“(Drake) is an offensive weapon for sure,” Pierce said about Burris’ third quarter. “We create situations for him so that he can score. It takes a lot of pressure off the other guys so they can use their energy on defense. It made us multifaceted and made it so (Greencastle) had to guard all five guys.”
After a slow first two minutes, Hutcheson scored twice to cut the lead to six but the home team would get no closer as Cousey and Saidian scored to restore the 10-point gap as the Athenians drained the clock away for a season-opening win.
Saidian finished with a game-high 16 points with Cousey not far behind on 13 points. Gooch also finished with a game-high 16 points for Greencastle while Hutcheson added 15 points.
Crawfordsville returns to action Saturday with a trip to Benton Central at 6 p.m.
“The nerves are gone and so hopefully the guys will be able to settle in a little bit,” Pierce said about being more relaxed in game two. “We still don’t know roles guys are going to play and there was some frustration with shot selection tonight. Hopefully against Benton Central we’ll start to see some settling in, what’s a good shot and what’s a bad shot. Benton Central has a lot of guys coming back so it’s going to be a tough test.”
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