Sugar

Athenians knock off Mounties for Sugar Creek Classic title

Codey Emerson | codey@jrpress.com

The 17th annual Boys Sugar Creek Classic concluded Saturday night at Crawfordsville High School with a re-match of last year’s championship game between two county rivals in the Crawfordsville Athenians and the Southmont Mounties. A year ago South won a low-scoring 32-30 affair over CHS for the coveted paddle. This time around Cville got the better of their rivals and were named champions of the Sugar Creek Classic with a 53-44 win.

The first quarter saw CHS come out on fire from three, knocking down five of six shots from behind the 3-point line and score 21 points in the first eight minutes as they led 21-13. A big note in the championship game was that the Mounties were without two of their starters in guard Evan Watson who sprained his ankle against North on Friday and also big man Carter Hubble.  Cville led 32-23 at halftime and 42-31 after three as the Mounties were unable to have enough offensive firepower.

“We didn’t shoot it well against WeBo at all so we came in early and got a lot of shots up and that seemed to help us,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “I’m glad that because we were hitting early, we didn’t just continue to jack up three after three the rest of the game. Because we were hitting threes, they had to come out and guard us and that opened up some lanes and we got to the rim after that. Our guards did a great job of making that adjustment. I was really proud of the poise our guys showed when South would get on a small run. We told them to just relax  and we got back out there and executed.”

The title is the fifth overall for the Athenians and their second in the last three years. Ethan McLemore put on a show for CHS going 8-11 from the field on his way to 21 points. For his performance he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable player.

“This feels amazing,” McLemore said. “We definitely earned it not just by what we did this week but every weekend we play basketball together. We started off super hot from three and I knew that would open up the lane for me. I just kept taking to the basket and they couldn’t stop it.”

Without two starters, Cville turned their focus to containing the top Mountie threats in Vince Reimondo and Hayden Hess. Reimondo was held in check by Tyson Fuller but Hess did everything he could to keep his team in the ball game. The senior guard for the Mounties led all scorers with 23 points and got praise from both coaches after the game.

“I’m very proud of Hayden and the way he played,” Southmont coach Michael Byrum said. “That was the first thing I told him after we walked off the floor. He played with a championship mindset and competed as hard as he could. He stepped up when we needed someone to because of how they took away Vince.”

“I told Hayden afterwards that’s probably the best game I’ve ever seen him play,” Pierce added. “He had constant effort and played with confidence.”

Crawfordsville (6-4) ended the night shooting 19-35 (54%) from the floor and a blistering 7-11 (64%) from three. They made 8-14 (57%) of three free-throw, grabbed 21 rebounds and turned it over nine times. Along with McLemore’s 21, Kaden Patton and Tyson Fuller both scored eight, Mason McCarty seven, Alec Saidian six, and Drake Burris three.

Southmont (4-4) went 17-42 (40%) from the floor in the loss and just 2-8 (25%) from three. They also were 8-14 from the foul line, grabbed 24 rebounds and turned it over seven times. Both Reimondo and Lucas Oppy added six to Hess’s 23 points. Aaron McMasters had five and Kyler McCandless four.

“I feel like this is the first night where we were 100% locked in on defense,” Pierce said. “That’s with our guys who were on the floor and even our bench guys. We really concentrated to put four consistent quarters together and of course for the second straight night Tyson Fuller did an amazing job. Holding a good player in Reimondo to six isn’t easy at all. Overall I’m super proud of these guys.”

Along with having McLemore being named MVP, Saidian, Hess, and Reimondo were all named to the All-Tournament team for their performances in the two games.

South will get another crack at the Athenians on Jan. 20 when the two meet for a county title. The last three times Crawfordsville and South have met in the Sugar Creek Classic, the champion has lost the next time when these two rivals have played. South is hoping that trend continues while the Athenians will look for a second win over the Mounties.

South will travel to Seeger on Friday for girl/boy double-header while CHS gets a well-deserved week off and their next game won’t be until Jan. 19 when they travel to Fountain Central.





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