LEBANON – One of the oldest rivalries in Indiana basketball history is Crawfordsville against Lebanon.
While the girls don’t have quite the history of the boys teams, the intensity is there nevertheless.
Friday at Lebanon the Tigers girls handled the Athenians easily, using a physical brand of ball to win 72-28.
The boys game had something for everyone, as the Athenians fell behind by 13, but came back to tie the game before falling in the Sagamore Conference opener for both squads by a final score of 53-48.
Boys 4th quarter rally falls short
It was the 193rd meeting of these two schools who can trace their origins back to the first days of basketball in this hoops-crazy state.
It started out as a runaway, with the Tigers putting a lucky 13 on the board and shutting out the Athenians for the first eight minutes.
I true rivalry form, though, Crawfordsville found their footing and shot their way back into the game, riding the coattails of Ziair Morgan’s six three-pointers to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter.
The magic ran out, however, and the Tigers posted a couple field goals and a few free throws to win, and stay unbeaten at 3-0 and move to 113-80 in the all-time series against the Athenians.
“I’m pleased with the second-half effort,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “We kept chipping away and Ziair gave us a big spark. The question we posted on the board after the game, however, was ‘are we that tough?’ Give Lebanon a lot of credit. They played a physical game, took away some of our screens and they set tough screens. We played on our heels and just backed up for the first half. They came ready to battle. We have a lot of tough games in front of us. We have to play tougher the entire game.”
Trailing 29-12 at the half, the visitors went to their senior guard, and he got hot from outside.
Morgan scored 19 of his game-best 23 in the second half, and at one point had hit three straight treys. Crawfordsville whittled the margin to nine at the end of the third quarter.
A 12-3 run in the first four minutes of the fourth saw the game knotted at 41 when Morgan hit a three with 3:59 left.
The Tigers were able to collect a couple buckets to stretch the lead, and the teams traded points until time ran out. Crawfordsville got it back to three at 49-46 with :22 left, but out of timeouts and almost out of time Lebanon kept the lead and picked up the win.
“We ran some plays for him, but he can create his own shots,” Pierce said of Morgan. “He can attack the basket and shoot the three, but we can’t become spectators in a Z show. We all have to do our jobs.”
Alex Kellerman added 10 points as the Athenians were 17-of-52 from the field, 9-of-24 from long range and 5-of-9 from the line. They won the rebound battle 33-29, with Cale Coursey’s six team-best. The Athenians had 13 turnovers, but seven came in the scoreless first quarter. They had only three in the second half.
The Tigers got 12 points each from Kori Sloggett and Kobe Ottinger. Drew Terrill had a game-high nine rebounds.
“We worked all week on keeping them out of the paint,” Pierce said, “but they still got about 40 points inside.”
Crawfordsville gets right back into action with a game against Attica tonight.
Girls outmatched in blowout loss
It was all Tigers in the girls game as they move to 2-3 on the season ad 0-1 in the Sagamore while the Athenians fall to 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the league.
Turnovers spelled the end of the road for Crawfordsville, as they finished with 27, that turned into 36 points for the Tigers.
The physical brand of all they played also made things hard for the visitors.
“The margin of error is so slim against a team that physical,” Crawfordsville coach Tyler Smith said. “You have to be close to perfect, and when we throw the all away like we did, it is hard.”
The Athenians got a couple buckets early, but the pressure of the Tigers defense soon turned the game away.
Trailing big at halftime, Crawfordsville righted the ship a bit, stopped the turnovers in the second half, and actually won the scoring in the third quarter 14-13.
“We got good looks with the offense.” Smith noted, “when we took care of the all. It was just such a rough start.”
The Athenians were led in scoring by Shea Williamson with 12 points and Olivia Reed with nine.
For the night, Crawfordsville was 11-of-37 from the field, 4-of-17 from long range and 2-of-8 from the line. They lost the reboud battle 59-30. Williamson had nine boards and Taylor Abston had eight.
The Tigers were led in scoring by Alexis Wines with 20, followed by Charli Alba with 16 and Maiya Newsome with 13. The were 28-of-70 from the field ad 13-of-28 from the line.
Crawfordsville's game Attica tonight was canceled. They are back in action next Thursday against Parke Heritage.
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