Tuesday night the Athenians and Stars met up once again in a re-match of the Sugar Creek Classic title game at CHS. The Athenians looked to avenge a 48-39 loss to the Stars as the two Sagamore Conference foes match squared off. Early on the Athenians were forcing the Stars to turn the ball over, and that led to a 12-6 Crawfordsville lead after the opening period. The Athenians biggest lead of the game would be a 17-9 advantage before the Stars went on a 17-0 run and never looked back in a 57-41 victory.
Rebounding told the story in the defeat for the Athenians as they surrendered 21 offensive rebounds which allowed the Stars to get second, third, and sometimes even a fourth chance on the offensive side of the ball.
“It’s just demoralizing when you give up that many o-boards,” Crawfordsville coach Tyler Smith said. “This marks several games now in a row where we thought we had a chance to win and maybe if we grab some more rebounds we do. We’re not going to beat anybody if we don’t rebound even with a winnable schedule. We constantly just have one player who continues to go after boards each and every night and she can’t do it herself. 20+ offensive rebounds in back to back games is just inexcusable.”
Overall the rebounding differential favored the Stars 39-15 in the game. Emmy Roys led the Stars with 19 points and 11 rebounds (five offensive). Katheryn Rutherford scored 13 points and also had a double-double with 11 rebounds (seven offensive), and Carlie Pennington added in 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds (five offensive) in the Stars win.
Shea Williamson and Liddy McCarty each had 10 to lead CHS while Olivia Reed scored nine. Kearston Hutchens chipped in six while Elyse Widmer scored four, and Taylor Abston rounded out the scoring with two for the Athenians who fall to 4-12 (0-5 SAC) on the season.
“We talked from the start that this game was going to be decided by who wanted it more,” first-year Stars coach Hannah Kelly said. “We saw in the championship game of the Sugar Creek Classic that Crawfordsville is a talented team and knew its always hard to beat a team twice in a season. After that slow start our girls just started fighting for every loose ball and every rebound and took that message to heart.”
The big momentum swing came in the second quarter when the Stars outscored the Athenians 22-6. Combined with the 21 offensive rebounds, the Stars also forced 23 Athenian turnovers, another thing that Smith wasn’t pleased with after the loss.
“We just kept throwing the ball all over the gym,” Smith said. “We’re dribbling into traffic and throwing it away when we do have some space. We completely wasted a timeout to draw something up, just to have a turnover turn into a layup. This late in the year, things like that can’t happen. We have a lot of games coming up that we can win, but we’re going to have to turn both of those things around very quickly.”
For the Stars they improve to 6-8 (1-2) while picking up their first conference win of the season as well. Kelly knew that after her teams slow start they had the talent to bounce back and that’s exactly what they did in the second quarter.
“We just called a timeout and I think the switch flipped on with them,” she said of the big second quarter. “We all really together decided to play as a team and that’s what really propelled us tonight. Our motto is ‘win together, lose together, get better together and tonight was a great example of that. Emmy really got the team fired up and it sparked us. This was the best team effort we’ve had all season tonight.”
Crawfordsville will travel to Riverton Parke on Thursday while the Stars will be back in action Friday night for a SAC double-header against Frankfort which gets underway at 6 p.m.
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