If they weren’t aware of their surroundings, the fans in attendance at Friday night’s Crawfordsville and Tri-West basketball game may have thought they were watching it out on the beautiful turf at the Crawfordsville football stadium. The two teams have become quite the heated rivals on the hardwood, and it was on full display throughout the evening.
Crawfordsville went toe-to-toe with the defending Sagamore Athletic Conference champions, but couldn’t overcome Tri-West’s 65 percent shooting and key baskets, falling 74-63, in a game much closer than the final score.
“I’m proud of our kids that we can shoot that poorly (38 percent) and still only be four points away from Tri-West,” said Athenian head coach David Pierce. “Doing that means you’re getting a lot done in other things throughout the game.”
Things started well for the home team as they jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead on a drive to the basket by James Gineris and a three from Devin Guard. However, Tri-West quickly jumped out to a 14-7 lead and led 19-15 after one.
They pushed the lead to 11 twice in the second before the Athenians closed the quarter on a 5-0 run to narrow the deficit to six at the break 35-29.
Crawfordsville closed the gap to five, four times in the third but time and again, either Logan Blake or Tyler Watson baskets would halt the Athenian run, as they trailed 51-44 after three.
Trailing by eight two minutes into the fourth, Trent Johnson and Jack Sommer connected on four straight free throws to cut it to four at 56-52. Sophomore Ryan Wiggins, who finished with six, hit a three from the corner to push the lead to seven, and the Athenians could never get closer than six the rest of the way as Tri-West connected on 8-of-11 free throws down the stretch to pull out the win.
“We could never get over that 4-point hump,” Pierce said afterwards. “It was a physical game, and I thought we kept our poise and stayed under control.”
Tri-West (16-3, 5-1 SAC) had four in double figures. Watson finished with 25, while Blake, who came in averaging just over 5-points, finished with 20, shooting 9-of-11 from the field. As a team, the Bruins shot 65 percent from the floor, 28-43, and 50 percent from beyond the arc, 7-of-14. They outrebounded the Athenians 28-22.
“They had some kids step up that normally don’t,” added Pierce. “Every time we’d start to come back, someone would hit a big shot.”
Crawfordsville (13-6, 4-2 SAC) had three in double figures led by Guard’s 17 and Cam Harris’ 15. Jack Sommer finished with 11. The Athenians committed just eight turnovers while dishing out 11 assists, led by Gineris’ five.
They shot 17-of-45 from the floor but did get the charity stripe 25 times, connecting on 18.
“The kids in that locker room are good kids,” Pierce said of his guys. “In order to beat a good team that has talent, you’re going to have to keep your poise and play with a lot of class.”
“I feel if we could’ve shot better we played well enough in other areas to give them a run,” he continued. “It was a physical game, and I thought we kept our poise and played under control.”
Crawfordsville is back in action Tuesday when they host Attica.
Tri-West 19 16 16 25--76
Crawfordsville 15 15 15 19--63

Player FG-A FT-A R F PTS
WATSON 10-15 3-4 4 4 25
BLAKE 9-11 2-3 1 2 20
GRUBBS 2-3 6-6 3 4 11
CHINN 3-4 2-2 0 1 10
HENDERSHOT 2-6 0-1 7 4 4
WIGGINS 2-4 0-0 9 3 6
Totals 28-43 13-16 24 18 76
Percentages: FG .651, FT .813. 3-Pointer: 7-14 (Wiggins 2-3, Chinn 2-3, Watson 2-5, Grubbs 1-2, Blake 0-1) Team Rebounds: 4.

Player FG-A FT-A R F PTS
GUARD 5-15 3-3 3 3 17
HARRIS 5-8 2-4 1 1 15
SOMMER 3-6 2-5 6 5 11
JOHNSON 2-8 4-4 7 2 9
GINERIS 2-8 4-5 1 2 8
BRIDGEWATER 0-0 3-4 1 1 3
Totals 17-45 18-25 19 14 63
Percentages: FG .378, FT .720. 3-Pointer: 11-30 (Guard 4-12 Harris 3-5, Sommer 3-5, Johnson 1-4, Gineris 0-4). Team Rebounds: 3.