Boys Basketball

Athenians pick up home conference win


Crawfordsville’s boys basketball team led from wire to wire in a 52-45 Sagamore Conference victory over Western Boone Thursday.

The win, the second of the season over the Stars that includes a seven-point win in the Sugar Creek Classic, evens the Athenians’ record at 7-7 and moves them to 3-2 in the conference. The Stars fall to 2-15 overall and 1-6 in the league.

Dropping three field goals to start things out, the home team opened an 11-point cushion midway through the first quarter and fought off a couple Stars’ comeback efforts.

“We had some guys really step up tonight,” CHS coach David Pierce said. “We had the good start, we got a huge contribution off the bench, we got some stops and made some good adjustments during the game. It was a good team win.”

The runout was keyed by the starters, and the guy off the bench dropped three treys for a dagger.

“E-Mac (Ethan McLemore) and Alec (Saidian) had great plus-minus numbers tonight,” Pierce said of the duo, who finished first and third in the scoring column. “Drake (Burris) never came out of the game,” he said of the senior guard, noting only six turnovers by the team.”

Saidian finished with 16 points, hitting six field goals, including a couple put-backs, and four three throws. The senior led his team with six rebounds, as CHS finished with a 33-23 rebound advantage. McLemore added eight points, five boards and a pair of assists, while Burris had seven points, five rebounds and three assists. 

The sniper off the bench was Mason McCarty.

The sophomore hit all three of his three-point shots, and with a free throw, finished with 10 points.

“McCarty’s threes all came when we were making comebacks,” Stars coach Dustin Oakley said. “Crawfordsville needed a shot, and he came off the bench to make them. They were tough.”

Kaden Patton also had seven points and grabbed five rebounds, as the Athenians shot 62 percent from two-point range for the night and finished 20-of-42 overall. They were 5-of-18 from long range and 7-of-11 from the line.

The Stars found the going rugged from long range, as they missed all 10 of their three-point shots, but they went inside on the dribble-drive to score their points and make the comeback runs.

“We got just about any shot we wanted,” Oakley said of the offense, that finished 13-of-33 from the field and spent a lot of time at the line, going 19-of-29. “We got to the rim, got to the line, but as it has happened many times this season, we just couldn’t get over the hump. We played a really fluid game, and took good care of the ball. We just need to find another shooter and clean a couple things up. We are getting better and getting closer every game.”

WeBo was led in scoring by Marcus Fortner, as the junior drove inside for four buckets but got fouled to the tune of going 12-of-16 from the line. He finished with a game-best 20 points, the only player in double-digits for the Stars. He had eight rebounds to lead his team.

“He changes speed and direction really well,” Oakley said of the guard.

The Athenians forced the visitors to shoot from outside, and when nothing fell, they drove inside.

“We haven’t played that much zone defense in any game all season,” Pierce said of the strategy, noting that they had changed the defensive plan a bit from the SCC meeting. “Credit WeBo, they made some offensive adjustments, but credit our guys in making some defensive ones.”

With a pair of wins over the Stars, Pierce knows there is still a chance of a third meeting, which would come in the sectional.

“We’ll have to make some more changes or adjustments if we play them again,” he said.

Both teams are back in action Saturday, as the Stars take on Clinton Central, while the Athenians hit the road for a long trip south, heading to Bedford North-Lawrence.

Crawfordsville had a hot-shooting night in a 77-37 junior varsity win.

Sam Minnette with 15, Rowan Gambrel with 14 and Andrew Hurt with 12 paced the Athenians, who hit nine three-pointers in the contest.