Konnor Smith (14) had a game high 17 points in the victory for the Athenians.
Konnor Smith (14) had a game high 17 points in the victory for the Athenians.
Crawfordsville and Southmont each came into Saturday's showdown feeling good, despite losing Friday night. When the final horn sounded in the Montgomery County clash, it was only the Athenians that maintained the high from the night before. The Athenian boys beat Southmont 49-39 behind a 17-point, 6-rebound effort from Konnor Smith.

"It was pretty apparent in the first quarter that we were trying to get it inside. I thought Ryan and Konnor did a good job of executing. It worked out well for us to get out to a good start," Crawfordsville head coach David Pierce said. "(Konnor) is on a little bit of a hot streak here. We were able to get him some looks tonight. The last couple of games as he's been hitting, guys want to get him the ball more."

The Athenians established from the tip that they wanted to run the offense through the low block. They got the ball inside to Smith on the first possession, to Ryan Barr on the next two and Smith again to jump to an 8-3 advantage. Feeding off his early rhythm, Smith nailed a 3-pointer to extend the lead to eight, 11-3, and force a Southmont timeout.

"Tonight Crawfordsville was more energetic and more passionate," Southmont head coach Jon Sparks said. "And our passion, instead of manifesting itself in effort and execution, we got disappointed and frustrated and let ourselves get taken out of the game. I thought that (Friday's) really good effort against Covington would carry over. But it's amazing how each night is a different night."

The Mounties attacked inside as well, getting the ball to sophomore Kaleb Swick the next two times down the court. He scored the last five points of the first quarter to keep the Mounties in the ball game.

Swick picked up where he left off, adding a free throw to start the second, and Southmont pulled the game back within a bucket when Jacob Budd put back an offensive rebound.

It was Crawfordsville's chance to respond, and they did just that. Devin Guard and Smith nailed back-to-back 3-balls to extend the lead to eight and the Athenians never looked back.

Every time Southmont tried to close the gap, Crawfordsville had a counter. Eight points was the closest the Mounties ever got to erasing the deficit after the back-to-back threes.

"The defensive executing is a want-to thing. Anybody can play defense, you just have to want to," Pierce said. "I think we're communicating better. That's why you're seeing better performances on defense."

"They didn't beat us with their press or their 1-3-1, we just didn't execute by finishing shots," Sparks said.

Cam Chadd was Southmont's leading scorer with 16, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter. Kaleb Swick had 11.

Trent Johnson contributed to the Crawfordsville effort with nine points, seven of which came in the fourth.

"Trent hitting 7-of-8 from the free throw line is enormous for us," Piece said. "(This weekend) was huge. We're getting ready to go into our conference season with a lot of tough opponents. Every one of our kids are new this year and this is the time of the year where you hope you are starting to play well. I think we have guys that are starting to play well."

Crawfordsville (4-10, 1-2 SAC) is at Frankfort this weekend. Southmont (4-10, 0-3 SAC) is at Lebanon.