North Montgomery and Crawfordsville met for the third time this season, this time in the opening round of Sectional 25 action at Case Arena in Frankfort. The Chargers were dominant beating their County, and Sagamore Athletic Conference, rival Athenians 73-49, to advance to Friday's semi-finals.

Crawfordsville jumped out a quick 3-0 advantage on a 3-pointer from Trent Johnson. However, that would be the only first quarter points they would score, as North responded going on a 20-0 run to close out the first quarter and lead 20-3.

"You're hoping that you can start off that way," said Charger coach Joel Grindle. "They hit their first shot, and we went on a 20-0 run. You can't draw it up better than that.

"We did a nice job of handling their pressure and not forcing anything," he continued. "Our starters set the tone defensively, in the first quarter, for the rest of the night."

Of the Chargers seven first quarter baskets, they had assists on six of them, led by Owen Randolph's three. They committed just one turnover in the quarter.

The Athenians had four miscues and shot just 11 percent, 1-9, in the first.

"We didn't have any execution tonight," said Athenian coach David Pierce. "You're not going to execute when you play shell-shocked and timid. We prepared for two weeks. Everything we worked on our kids didn't do, especially in the first half."

Crawfordsville did find their offense in the second quarter, shooting 50 percent from the floor. However, North would connect on 62 percent of their field goal attempts, to outscore the Athenians, 24-20, and take a 44-23 to the locker room.

"I thought we passed and moved the ball well," said Grindle. "We weren't forcing shots, and we took what was open. I thought both Randolph's (Caleb and Owen) were hitting open guys."

North extended their lead in the third, outscoring the Athenians 16-8. The end of the quarter was highlighted by Jordan Lewis' rebound and long 3-pointer, at the buzzer, to give the Chargers a 60-31 headed to the fourth.

"We have certain players that have to play well for us to be successful," said Pierce. "When those guys don't play well, we're going to struggle. In order to compete with a more talented team, you have to play together, and our key guys didn't do that."

Crawfordsville did win the final quarter 18-13 for the 24-point final margin.

The Chargers starters committed just six turnovers on the evening compared to 14 assists. Owen Randolph had six and Alex Parsons three. They had three in double figures led by Grant Gayler's 16. Owen Randolph contributed 11 and Elijah Dugard came off the bench with 10.

"Elijah Dugard was a great offensive spark tonight," commented Grindle.

The Athenians, who finish their season at 6-17, had two in double figures. Konnor Smith led the way with 12 and Sam Page, who played his last game in an Athenian uniform, had 10.

"We're sad to see our seniors, Nick Corbin, Skylar Daniels, Tanner Hutson and Page, go," said Pierce. "Very few coaches can have a losing record and enjoy their season. We were blessed with those guys."

North Montgomery improves to 14-9 and advances to Friday's semi-final game against the 9-14 Frankfort Hot Dogs. The two teams met on February 12, with the Hot Dogs winning at home 64-55, in a game much closer than the final.

"We're going to play a really good team that beat us a few weeks ago," said Grindle. "We have to work hard in practice and fix the little things that hurt us in that game."

"We get another game on this floor," he continued. "We're full tourney mode and gained some confidence tonight, so we shouldn't have any tournament anxiety. We're looking forward to it."

Friday's game will be the second semi-final. The Western Boone Stars and Lebanon Tigers will square off in the 6:00 match-up.