Crawfordsville had the tough task of trying to beat Western Boone for the third time this season Friday night in their Class 3A Sectional 25 semi-final at home. The Athenians used their run and jump defense to near perfection as they stymied the Stars in the second half. They erased a 1-point half time deficit, outscoring WeBo 28-18 in the second half, for the 52-43 victory.
The Athenians led 15-9 after one as Jesse Johnson-Hall scored 11 first quarter points. However, the Stars ended the first and opened the second on a 14-3 run to take a 20-18 lead with 4:51 remaining in the half. A Patrick Shallenberger put back gave the Stars a 25-24 lead at the break.
Crawfordsville took the lead for good at 30-29 with 2:30 remaining in the third on a drive by Tray Scorza. The junior scored six of his game high 13 in the quarter as the Athenians turned up their defense limiting the Stars to just four third quarter points.
“We did it Wednesday night too, (holding Lebanon to just five). We take great pride in our defense,” said Athenian head coach David Pierce. “When you’re able to play solid defense, get a rebound and go, it’s demoralizing in the playoffs.
“It’s all about momentum,” he continued. “I thought we got off to a good start in the third and controlled the remainder of the game.”
The Athenians opened up a 14-point lead midway through the fourth quarter as Western Boone scored only 6-points in a 13-minute stretch in the second half.
The Stars (12-12) had three in double figures led by Lucas Morton’s 12. Cortez Stoudamire finished with 11 while Peyton Young contributed 10.
Spencer Wright, the Stars leading scorer, was limited to just two points on the night on 1-of-10 shooting.
“I was happy with Jesse on defense, he held Wright to two points, and he committed six turnovers,” Pierce said. “That was what we needed from him to get this win.”
Crawfordsville (18-6) also had three in double figures led by Scorza’s 13. Karsten Williamson & Johnson-Hall each finished with 11 while Will Kellerman had 9.
“KW’s been awesome the last two games. Both Lebanon and WeBo were physical with him, and he hasn’t turned it over,” Pierce said. “Tray stepped up tonight and was aggressive. Kellerman was plus 26 on our plus/minus chart and took two charges as did Anthony Gonzalez.”
The Athenians will face Greencastle (20-4) tonight for the Sectional 25 Championship. The Tiger Cubs beat Crawfordsville 67-55 in each team’s first game back on November 20.
“We’re really excited for tonight. We feel like we’re a completely different team, especially our young guys,” Pierce said. “They were super tentative and we didn’t get after them defensively. We will this time.”
Crawfordsville will be looking for their first sectional title since 2014, while the Tiger Cubs will look to claim their first crown since 2004. Game time is 7:30 at CHS.

ATHENIANS 15 9 10 18—52
STARS 9 16 4 14—43

Player FG-A FT-A R F PTS
SCORZA 4-6 5-8 0 2 13
WILLIAMSON 4-5 2-3 1 2 11
JOHNSON-HALL 5-9 0-0 7 4 11
KELLERMAN 3-6 2-2 4 1 9
SAUNDERS 2-5 0-0 6 0 4
GONZALEZ 2-5 0-0 0 0 4
SCOTT 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 20-36 9-13 18 9 52
Percentages: FG .556, FT .692. 3-Pointer: 3-12 (Williamson 1-1, Johnson-Hall 1-2, Kellerman 1-4, Saunders 0-1, Scorza 0-1) Team Rebounds: 2.

Player FG-A FT-A R F PTS
MORTON 5-10 0-0 4 2 12
STOUDAMIRE 4-9 1-1 2 3 11
YOUNG 5-6 0-0 4 4 10
SHALLENBERGER 4-6 0-0 5 3 8
WRIGHT 1-10 0-0 6 3 2
Totals 19-41 1-1 21 15 43
Percentages: FG .463, FT 1.000. 3-Pointer: 4-11 (Morton 2-3, Stoudamire 2-5, Shallenberger 0-1, Wright 0-2) Team Rebounds: 2.