Too tall. Too quick. Too smart. Too poised, and too often. The No. 2 ranked Warriors advanced here Friday night to the Sectional 25 final game, defeating the Athenians 84-62.
But don’t let the final score mislead you. The Athenians didn’t wilt under the bright spotlight shone on the Warriors, who are an obvious state championship contender.
“On the whole, I was pleased with our effort,” said head coach David Pierce. “We knew what to expect from them, and we played much better than we did earlier (in the regular season). We made too many mental mistakes.”
Danville (21-4) broke out to a 9-0 lead, forcing Pierce to call a timeout to stem the rout. It worked. The Athenians (13-11) loosened up, and traded buckets with the Warriors. Sixth man Ty Lynas energized his team by attacking the Danville defense. When the junior hit a deep baseline three, and Jesse Hall followed it up with a strong move to the rim, the Athenian deficit was only two, 23-21.
“Our aggressiveness forced them into a couple of timeouts of their own,” said Pierce. “It proves we can play with them, for the most part.”
In the end, though, there was no overcoming Danville’s firepower. Led by 6’7” star Dillon Ware’s 31-point, nine-rebound performance, the Warriors placed two other starters in double figures. Sam Comer patrolled the arc for another 16 and Kobe Ward added 14.
Crawfordsville was paced by Lynas and Hall with 17 apiece. They were joined in double figures by Karsten Williamson with 11. It was a night where the Athenians struggled at times to score.
“It’s hard to figure,” said Pierce. “Three of our best shooters — Williamson, (Ian) Hensley, and (Carson) Scott — go one-for-ten in the first half. They usually shoot lights out in practice. But Danville’s defense, with their length, can do that to you.
“Some things we did well, though. I thought Jesse (Hall) played really well, and KW ended up with seven assists on the night.”
If there was one particular thing that disappointed the coach, it likely was the lapses on defense at critical junctures.
“We were mentally lazy at times. We didn’t block out well, and our guys fell asleep. We’ll just have to make sure our young guys learn from this.”
Danville scored 15 points off Athenian turnovers, and 16 points off offensive rebounds, Pierce reported.
It’s hard to imagine if the outcome could have changed. Danville showed few weaknesses, on a team that sports three potential college-bound players.
The loss brings to end the careers of four seniors — Carson Scott, Karsten Williamson, Nate Mayer and Cole Watt.
“These are really good kids from good families,” lauded their coach. “Cole and Carson are a couple of rah-rah guys, and are always competitive. Maybe too competitive. Nate had no diffi-culty becoming a part of this team, and of course, KW (Williamson) is our leader. They have meant a great deal to this program.”
Danville moves on to the Sectional 25 championship against North Montgomery, who ousted Frankfort 81-80 in the first contest.