The Paper photo by Codey Emerson 
Senior Lauren Kellerman brings the ball up the court during the Lady Athenians season opening 56-39 loss against Seeger on Friday. Kellerman ended the game with 17 points
The Paper photo by Codey Emerson Senior Lauren Kellerman brings the ball up the court during the Lady Athenians season opening 56-39 loss against Seeger on Friday. Kellerman ended the game with 17 points

The Crawfordsville Lady Athenians began their new season on Friday night as the team hosted the Seeger Patriots in their home opener. This game also marked the head coaching debut for first year coach Tyler Smith for the Lady Athenians. 

The debut for Smith and the season opener for the Lady Athenians ended in a loss as the Patriots ended up walking away with a 56-39 victory. The Patriots got off to a fast start in the first quarter and never looked back as they outscored the Athenians 20-6. After the game Smith talked about how the Patriots were able to get off to that fast start and walk away with the win. 

“I knew from watching film from their first game that they already looked in mid-season form,” Smith said of the Patriots. We knew they had a good offense with many players returning. After the first quarter I think we matched up with them fairly well. Our 1-3-1 zone broke down a few times on defense and other times it was the offensive boards that killed us. We needed our guards to rebound a bit better than they did tonight.” 

The Lady Athenians were able to find a rhythm in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Patriots 14-7. The lady Athenians were able to force some turnovers and get out in transition to score some easy baskets as part of that fourth quarter. Smith talked about what he saw specifically that allowed his team to play as well as they did.

“We have some girls who are getting more tough minded,” Smith said. “We have a mantra this year of every second counts. In the huddle during the late in third quarter and into the fourth you saw that they were still engaged and ready to continue to compete. We like to treat each quarter as its 0-0. We were able to show some fight late and that was good to see. It’s no small task to be pretty even with them for three quarters like we were. We come away overall feeling pretty positive knowing that we were able to force some turnovers. We definitely saw flashes in the fourth quarter of what we can eventually be this season.” 

Nothing will ever be perfect in a team’s first game of a new season and Smith talked about what he saw tonight and how the team will look to improve off of the loss. 

“Offensively we were pretty stagnant tonight,” Smith said. “We’re still a little too reliant on a few girls to make plays where as I believe we have the personnel to have a good offense with everyone contributing. We’re definitely going to watch film from what was different between the first and fourth quarters. If our offensive sets and rebounding improve then I feel like we can be a competitive team out there.” 

The Lady Athenians in recent seasons have struggled to shoot out beyond the three point line. That number saw an improvement against the Patriot as the team shot 6/16 from three (38 percent). Smith talked about his team’s ability to shoot the three and how he sees that shot fitting into the overall offensive philosophy. 

“A number of the girls at the end of last season started to get confidence in their shot,” Smith said. “I think when we play small ball we can have those girls out there who can then drive then kick the ball out to our shooters. We could eventually have four to five girls out there at once who can shoot a three. It all depends on how the defense is and if they choose to help on the drive or not.” 

Senior Lauren Kellerman led the way for the Lady Athenians with 17 points on the night. Kellerman continued her terrific play from last season and Smith talked about her leadership out on the court and how she continued to be the No. 1 option for the Athenians in the season opener. 

“I think everyone around here is used to her leading our team,” Smith said of Kellerman. “I think on a nightly basis that we’re going to get her best, even if the shot isn’t falling. She’s going to lead us and she wants to have that role. We want that from her every night and expect that of her.” 

Fellow Senior Peyton Sinnett also recorded a double figure game as she began her season tallying 11 points with nine of those 11 coming from three point range. 

The loss for the Lady Athenians begins their season at 0-1 (0-0 SAC). They will return to action on Tuesday as they hit the road for three straight games. The first matchup will be against the North Putnam Cougars (0-1).