Valley Sports Report
TOWANDA — For three quarters, Athens
outplayed Towanda, taking a 31-26 lead into the fourth quarter. Then,
disaster struck, as they were outscored 19-5 in the final frame to fall
to the Knights, 43-36, in NTL girls’ basketball action Saturday.
went to that 2-2-1 three-quarters court trap,” explained Athens coach
Brian Miller. “They ran that earlier in the game, and we handled it
effectively, but we struggled big time with it.
how many timeouts I called, or what I showed them on the board, we
struggled with finding the open girls, making the open pass over Paige
(Manchester) and Porschia (Bennett), who are up front.”
That overshadowed a much better performance for Athens after coming off its loss to Wyalusing Thursday.
did play a lot better today,” said Miller. “I was proud of my team. We
had a great three quarters of basketball, and then we had some brain
dead stuff. Against a good team like Towanda, you can’t fall that far
behind too many times.”
Caydence Macik had the big game for
Athens with 18 points, but Kayleigh Miller was limited to just five
points. The Wildcats did get more support from their other players as
Megan Collins had five points, Karlee Bartlow netted four, and Rachel
Stephens and Hannah Blackman had two points apiece.
had eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one blocked shot for
the Wildcats, while Miller had five rebounds, and Bartlow grabbed four
If it wasn’t the Towanda press hurting Athens, it was them giving up offensive boards.
killed us on the boards,” said Miller. “Whether it was man-to-man or
zone. Erin Barrett really stepped up and had a good fourth quarter to
take that team to victory.”
Barrett finished with 21 points, 13
in the fourth quarter, to go with 15 rebounds. Paige Manchester added 14
points, six boards, four assists and four steals.
limit Porschia Bennett to just five points, but she had five steals and
hounded Miller all night long. Ally Hurley chipped in with four points
and five rebounds and Kendie Packard scored one point.
Knights didn’t shoot the ball well — they had three 3-pointers and one
was a Manchester half-court heave at the buzzer in the second quarter —
but they were able to make up for it with all the offensive rebounds.
That, combined with Towanda’s late press, was too much for the Wildcats
to stave off.
Regardless, despite Athens’ loss Thursday night, Towanda coach Rob Gentile knew they were going to get the Wildcats’ best.
“We fully expected this,” he said. “They were highly motivated to play hard, and they competed well.”
It was a game of runs with Towanda making the first one as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter.
Barrett led things off with a lay-up, and Bennett had three points after her.
Wildcats got on the scoreboard at the 4:40 mark as Macik had an old
fashion 3-point play. She would tie the game up on Athens’ next
possession with another lay-up.
Hurley answered with a 3-ball followed by back-to-back lay-ups from Barrett and Manchester to put the Knights up 12-5.
Athens finished the quarter strong as Macik had a lay-up, followed by a Collins jumper to cut it to 12-9 at the first break.
Macik free throws cut it to 12-11 to start the second quarter, but a
Manchester 3-pointer put an end to that run. After a Packard free throw
Towanda led 16-11.
That’s when Athens made a 10-2 over the middle
of the second quarter. Two points by Stephens and Miller cut it to
16-15, though a Barrett bucket ended that run and put the Knights back
No matter as Macik scored on a lay-up plus the foul,
hitting the freebie to knot things up at 18-all with 2:41 left in the
half. A Collins 3-pointer gave Athens a 21-18 lead with 1:45 left to
It looked like that was going to be the halftime score when
Manchester hit a half-court shot at the buzzer, erasing the lead and
taking back all the momentum Athens worked hard to get.
started the third quarter strong as Barrett and Manchester hit
back-to-back buckets, followed by a Hurley freebie to extend the Knight
lead to 26-21.
But that’s all the points they scored in the third, giving Athens a chance to take control of the game.
the Wildcats took it, as they got back-to-back 3-pointers from Bartlow
and Miller to go up 27-26 with 1:50 left in the quarter.
Macik then hit back-to-back lay-ups for the 31-26 lead.
Then came the Towanda onslaught as the Knights scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter, all in the first four minutes.
could barely get the ball past half court during that stretch, while on
the other end Barrett scored seven of the 11 Towanda points, four of
them on putbacks. Manchester had two steals followed by lay-ups, then
assisted Bennett off a steal to end the run, putting Towanda up 39-31.
made a mini-rally over the next two minutes as Macik hit Blackman for a
bucket, followed by a Macik putback to cut it to 39-35, but that’s as
close as it got.
Fittingly, Barrett secured the game, first
with a putback with 40 seconds to play, then with a block with 26
seconds left. She finished off the ensuing possession with a lay-up to
shut the door.
The loss drops Athens to 7-2 in the league as Towanda improves to 8-0.
The Wildcats will look to get back on track next Tuesday as they host Troy.