FRANKFORT — This late in the high school basketball season the expectations come down to one word for both the Crawfordsville girls and boys basketball teams.
The Lady Athenians started off the girl-boy doubleheader with a physical war against host Frankfort. As expected coach Tyler Smith’s team won, 33-29, but it was not easy.
Meanwhile, the boys scored six straight in the first quarter, never trailed again and picked up the 58-40 victory.
“We tried our best to let the girls know it wasn’t going to be an easy win,” Smith said. “Especially on their home court, we knew it was going to be that way and we had to want it more.”
The Hot Dogs (2-20, 0-7 SAC) forced the physical game Smith knew was coming. Crawfordsville’s offense struggled most of the game, but the outcome is what is important in contests like this. The outside shots weren’t falling so the strategy changed.
“We had a couple timeouts specifically,” Smith said. “We wanted to get a high ball screen or kick to the wing and immediate look to the middle. Their pressure was bothering us just enough.”
The visitors (7-15, 2-5 SAC) ratcheted up the defense in the second half and tried to create.
“First half we were in a 1-3-1 and they banked in a couple shots so it was doing its job in the half court. But we wanted to create some offense and more turnovers so we went to 2-2-1 where we did a better job than normal. Even when they beat the press it was slowing them down and they were struggling to get shots.”
Elyse Widmer and Addie Hodges led the scoring with eight each. Taylor Abston grabbed 12 rebounds and Hodges 10 off the bench.
Smith’s team is now 10-2 the last two seasons in games decided by seven points or less. He likes the momentum heading into sectional play next week in Lebanon against Danville.
“We’ve won three out of four. We’ve done a pretty solid job turning the tide with this group, learning on the fly and gutting out wins.”
oys coach David Pierce was pleased with the effort against a shorthanded Frankfort squad and saw his players not overlook that.
“We felt like intensity was important tonight. They were shorthanded, but we felt like they were going to have guys step up,” Pierce said. “We are at that point in the season we’re holding them more accountable, not showing them much grace. They handled it well.”
Cale Coursey scored nine of his career high-tying 23 in the first quarter to jumpstart the Athenians (7-7, 3-1 SAC). He was able to score and contribute both outside and inside.
“Being able to shoot the three stretches the defense out and then able to get into the paint,” Coursey said. “Early in the season I had an adjustment to make and it helps me finish stronger at the rim.”
“Cale had a great night for us,” Pierce added. “Ethan (McLemore) did a nice job controlling the tempo of the game. We were disappointed with our turnovers, but proud of our effort.”
Crawfordsville led 18-12 after that first quarter. They stretched it to 10 at half and led by as many as 22 in the second half.
Alec Saidian had 12 points as did Drake Burris off the bench. Saidian added eight rebounds.
Pierce’s squad hits the road again tonight at Northview.
“Northview is a hard place to play. The place is usually packed and a great atmosphere to play. We have to be ready. We’re heading down the stretch.”
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