It is finally here: High school boys basketball season has officially started in the state of Indiana, and Christmas has come early for thousands of fans, coaches and players around the state.
Basketball means a little extra in the Hoosier state, especially in its birthplace, which is right here in Crawfordsville.
The Athenians, the state’s first champions in 1911, opened regular season play Tuesday night, falling to Greencastle 67-55.
Crawfordsville is a new look team, graduating leading scorers Cameron Harris and Jack Sommer from last year’s team. The Athenians do return sophomore Jesse Johnson-Hall and juniors Tray Scorza and Karsten Williamson.
Coach David Pierce expects the Athenians to have a balanced offensive attack, with five seniors, Will Kellerman, Cameron Saunders, Jake Decker, Eddie Heinold, and Anthony Gonzalez, rounding out the rotation.
Williamson led Crawfordsville with 14 points in the loss to Greencastle, while Kellerman added 13.
The Athenians return to the court Saturday at Benton Central at 7:30 p.m.
Look to Crawfordsville to compete night in and night out, keep its record above .500, and finish in the top half of the Sagamore Conference. The Athenians are my pick to win the county and the Sugar Creek Classic.
Southmont opened up the season at South Vermillion Tuesday night, falling to the Wildcats 73-42.
The Mounties lost four starters to graduation, including all-time leading scorer Cam Chadd. Justin Howard and Cole Roach are the only returning letterman for Southmont, as Jake Turner enters his first full season at the helm, hoping to find the right pieces in building a championship culture.
Southmont may struggle for much of the season, but expect Turner to get the program headed in the right direction, and for the Mounties to be playing their best basketball at season’s end.
The Mounties are back in action tonight at North Putnam. That game can be heard on Thunder 103.9.
There is a lot of optimism surrounding North Montgomery boys’ basketball. Andrew Evertts enters his first season guiding the Chargers, coming from a successful tenure at Mississinewa.
Justin Clary exits as a 1,000-point scorer, but the Chargers return a solid core led by seniors Matt Jackman, Daniel Fritzen and Conner Cain.
Juniors Kade Kobel, Jack Thompson, and Preston Shaw return as starters from last season.
Despite losing Clary’s 21 point per game average, the Chargers expect to improve on their 7-16 record from last year.
Look for North Montgomery to win its first county and conference games in two years this season, and compete night in and night out. It should be a quick turnaround for coach Evertts. He has had success at every stop in his young career.
North Montgomery opens play tonight at Speedway.