Photo by Lori Poteet. Sam Page and the Athenians ran into a buzzsaw of a Tri-West team that showed no love on Valentine’s Day.
Photo by Lori Poteet. Sam Page and the Athenians ran into a buzzsaw of a Tri-West team that showed no love on Valentine’s Day.

The Crawfordsville Athenians had a tall task Saturday afternoon when they entertained Class 3A, No. 8 Tri-West in a Sagamore Conference tilt. The Bruins used their speed and athleticism, and kept their Conference title hopes alive, as they defeated the Athenians 63-28.

Crawfordsville got off to a quick start holding a 6-4 advantage midway through the first quarter. However, that's when Tri-West turned up their defense. They would outscore the Athenians 11-2 the remainder of the quarter and hold a 15-8 lead after one.

Crawfordsville struggled to find offense over the next two quarters. They scored only six points combined in the second and third, shooting just 17 percent, on 3-18. The Bruins, on the other hand, shot 39 percent, 13-33, during the same stretch, and would outscore the Athenians 32-6 in the middle quarters.

The Athenians offense did play better in the fourth. However, Tri-West would win the quarter 16-14.

I'm proud of our effort," said Athenian coach David Pierce. "We wanted to hold them under 66, and we held them to 63."

"We knew their athleticism would be a determining factor," he continued.

The Bruins used their athleticism outrebounding Crawfordsville 39-24, and forcing the Athenians to commit 28 turnovers to their 13.

"The only disappointing thing was we had some mental breakdowns, and we allowed our emotions to get the best of us" commented Pierce. "That comes with inexperience. We've got to find a way to be mentally tough through whatever adversity we face."

Tri-West (16-3, 4-1 SAC) had two in double figures. They were led by Jake Hendershot's double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Lucas Rutherford came off the bench and chipped in 10.

The Athenians held Tri-West's leading scorer, Trevor Waite, to just nine points, on 3-14 shooting. Coach Pierce attributed much of that to the defense of senior Nick Corbin.

"Nick did a terrific job today. He's our defensive stopper. He's held two 1,000 point scorers, (he also held Western Boone's Riggs Baxter to just six in the Sugar Creek Classic) to well below their season averages."

Crawfordsville (5-14, 1-5 SAC) was led by Konnor Smith's nine. Sam Page also had five. Trent Johnson pulled down a team high seven boards.

The Athenians have another tough week ahead. They'll host Attica on Tuesday evening, and they'll travel to Danville Friday.

"The end of our schedule is brutal," commented Pierce. "We planned it this way, to prepare our kids for the adversity they'll face in Sectional. We'll bounce back and be ready for Attica Tuesday."