The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet 
Cameron Harris led the Athenians with the game high of 23 points.
The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet
Cameron Harris led the Athenians with the game high of 23 points.

FRANKFORT – Crawfordsville entered Wednesday’s Sectional quarterfinal looking to play the underdog role to their advantage.

Their game plan was simple, take good shots in the flow of the offense, slow the tempo down against a very athletic Bruin team, play good defense, and give themselves a chance to win. They executed that plan perfectly, but a late turnover ended the Athenians season, 51-46.

“I’m really proud of our kids focus,” Athenian coach David Pierce said. “I thought our kids were locked in for four quarters and took good shots.”

Crawfordsville opened up an 8-0 lead to start the game forcing a Bruin timeout. They also closed the quarter on another 8-0 run to lead 16-5 after one.

The Athenians opened up a 13-point lead early in the second on a James Gineris three. However, the Bruins closed the half on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to five, 27-22.

Tri-West outscored Crawfordsville 17-6 in the second quarter by shooting 86 percent, on 6-of-7 from the floor.

Another turning point occurred from the middle of the second quarter to the end of the third. The Athenians went over nine minutes without a field goal and the Bruins outscored them 19-1 over that stretch.

Crawfordsville was down seven late in the third, when they started their comeback.

“We were down and came back,” Pierce added. “Our kids could’ve folded and they didn’t. They gave themselves a chance to win and I’m proud of that.”

Cameron Harris scored 11 of his game high 23 in the quarter and the Athenians found themselves tied at 46 with 1:23 remaining.

A Bruin basket and a layup off a steal sealed it for Tri-West as they move to 19-6 on the season and will face Western Boone Friday in the second semi-final game in Frankfort.

Crawfordsville shot 44 percent from the field but just 3-of-8 from the foul line.

“That 3-of-8 from the line was one of the difference makers,” Pierce said. “When it was 46 all, we really wish we could get those back.”

Harris led the Athenians (9-14) with 23, while Devin Guard finished with eight.

“Cameron played well and I didn’t feel like he rushed anything,” Pierce said. “He has the potential to be a special player, and we’re glad we get him back another two years.”

Wednesday marked the final game for the Athenians two seniors, Ryan Barr and Konnor Smith. “I’m really proud of both of them, their growth over the last four years,” Pierce commented. “We never had a discipline issue and that’s a testament to their parents.”

The Athenians will have a really strong nucleus returning next season.

“Tonight was our best game all year,” added Pierce. “Hopefully this builds confidence for us going into the summer and makes the kids realize no matter who we play, we can compete.”