High School Sports

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Ceiling is high for Athenians

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Crawfordsville’s boys’ basketball team has posted a winning record in three of the last four seasons, but the Athenians have failed to a win a sectional since 2014.

With a pair of double-figure scorers returning and other key pieces, the Athenians have lofty goals. But for longtime coach David Pierce, he knows in the 2020 season of COVID-19, they must take it one game at a time.

“With all the factors involved this year, our goal is to take it one game at a time,” he said. “We are just grateful and blessed we are able to play.”

Jesse Hall, who is the two-time defending Journal Review player of the year returns 15.7 points per game as a senior, while senior Ty Lynas (10.7 points per game) also returns. Pierce says scoring won’t be an issue for the Athenians, who return almost 53 points per game from a 13-11 team last season.

Junior Ian Hensley avered over eight points a game as a sophomore, while Nate Schroeter averaged 6.2 points per game in an injury-shortened junior season.

“The strength of this team is that it has a lot of depth,” Pierce said. “We will be able to play a variety of different lineups, and be able to change on the fly as guys have off nights and others step up.”

Crawfordsville also plans to turn to juniors Alex Kellerman, Ziair Morgan, and Mekhi Wallace to emerge as regular varsity contributors on both ends of the floor.

The ultimate goal like all teams in the state will be for the Athenians to be competing for a sectional title come March. Crawfordsville won the Sagamore Conference and played Greencastle to a overtime loss in the sectional final in 2019, and Pierce believes there’s one key ingredient that can get the Athenians back to that level.

“Leadership, leadership, leadership,” he said. “If everyone takes ownership in impacting one another in a positive way, to play at their highest potential, we will be just fine. People are either energy givers or energy takers. This group has the potential to be the most energy giving team we have ever had.”

Crawfordsville opens the season tonight at Greencastle.

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