WESTFIELD, Pa. — Senior Audrey Hatch delivered the game-winning hit, and
sophomore Addy Repsher preserved the win with a defensive gem here
Monday afternoon in Athens’ wild, 14-13, eight-inning win over
Cowanesque Valley in NTL softball action.
“It was a crazy back-and-forth game,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “It was exciting.
“Twice, the bottom of our line-up — Mallory Mummert, Ashlyn VanFleet, and Macie Coyle — turned it over to the top of our line-up, and our top four hitters did what they were suppose to do,” noted Farrell.
“I told (the bottom of the order) this win was as much them, as it was the top of our order,” added Farrell, noting the top four hitters combined for 12 hits, nine runs scored, and 12 RBI.
With two outs in the top of the eighth inning, a hustling Coyle beat out a grounder to shortstop that was mishandled. Senior Harley Sullivan singled to advance Coyle to third base, and Hatch plated her with a single.
In the bottom of the inning, junior Caydence Macik, in her second inning of relief, struck out the first batter, but then gave up singles to the eight and nine hitters — Autumn Outman and Keyana Thomas.
CV lead-off hitter Katie Adams then ripped a line drive toward right field, but a leaping Repsher at first base, snared the liner and tagged the runner coming back to the bag for the game-ending double play.
“That was a really nice, heads-up play by Addy,” said Farrell. “It was a great play.”
Athens took a quick 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning in a rally that featured an RBI single by Macik and a two-run home run by Repsher.
Cowanesque Valley, however, answered with five runs in the home half of the first. Makayla Vargeson provided the key hit with a three-run home run — the first of two long balls in the contest.
The Lady Indians scored two runs in the second and another in the third to take an 8-5 lead.
“They shut us down until the sixth inning … keeping it close was the key,, though” said Farrell. “I feel if we keep it close, we can come back on anybody.”
Athens scored twice in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Macik and an RBI single by Repsher, but Vargeson’s two-run homer in the home half of the inning pushed the lead back to 10-7.
Mummert led off the top of the seventh inning with a single, and VanFleet and Coyle worked walks, sandwiched around an out, to load the bases for the top of the line-up.
Sullivan ripped a two-run double to trim the deficit to 10-9, and Hatch tied the game with an RBI single. Macik then drove a 3-1 pitch over the fence to give the Lady Wildcats a 13-10 lead.
“(Caydence) Macik hit a bomb — I think it’s still going,” said Farrell.
The bottom of the CV line-up answered as Thomas belted a two-run triple to trim the lead to 13-12, and Adams delivered an RBI single to tie the game.
Hatch stroked four singles, scored three runs, and drove in two runs, Macik had three hits, including a home run, two runs scored and four RBI, and Sullivan had three hits, including a double, three runs scored, and three RBI to lead Athens’ 16-hit attack.
Repsher homered and singled, scored once, and drove in three runs in the win, while sophomore Aliyah Butler singled twice, Mummert singled and scored one run, Coyle doubled and scored two runs, and Ali Thoman crossed the plate once.
Macik earned the win for Athens, pitching two innings of shutout ball. She allowed three hits, and struck out two.
“Caydence did an awesome job,” said Farrell. “She wasn’t warmed up at all, and came in and threw strikes.
“She earned the start tomorrow against Towanda — it’s a big game for us,” Farrell added.
While Athens is off to a 4-0 start, Farrell said his team is not clicking on all cylinders.
“We can score with anyone,” he said. “Defensively, however, we’re not playing with enough urgency. I think at times we’re unsure what to do with the ball, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact we’ve had two practices outside.
“We’re where we need to be hitting-wise, but we still have a long ways to go defensively.”
Farrell also had words of praise for Cowanesque Valley.
“(CV coach Mike Vargeson) does a nice job,” said Farrell. “That teams is one of the best two-strike approach teams I’ve ever seen. They put the ball in play almost every time we had them 0-2, or 1-2.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, (CV) will win the NTL Small School Division. They just have too much hitting.
“And, (Makayla) Vargeson is going to be in the hunt for league MVP,” added Farrell. “She is really good.”
Athens returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Towanda.
ATHENS — After having three games postponed over the last eight days,
Sayre finally got on the field for its 2021 season-opener, and wasted
little time in finding its stride, scoring eight first-inning runs on
the way to a 16-1 four-inning win over Athens in NTL baseball action.
“We played pretty good for our first game, but it's only one game and got some cleaning up to do,” said Sayre coach Jamie VanDuzer. “I’m very thankful we were able to finally play a game.”
Senior Jake Burgess reached base on an error to lead off the game, and scored on a one-out RBI double by sophomore Lucas Horton in his first varsity at-bat.
Lucas Horton scored an RBI single by junior David Northrup to make it 2-0. After a single by senior Zach Moore, back-to-back walks to sophomore Zach Garrity and junior Kannon VanDuzer to force home a run.
Junior Mason Houseknecht delivered a two-run single to make it 5-0, and junior Brady Horton capped the rally with a two-RBI double. In between, the Redskins plated a run on an error.
“We had some very good at bats,” said VanDuzer. “We didn't chase many pitches.
“We also got some help,” added VanDuzer. “They gave a couple extra outs early in the game.”
Sayre upped its lead to 9-0 with an unearned run in the top of the second inning.
Athens answered with its only run in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Mason Lister worked a lead-off walk, and scored on singles by sophomore Lucas Kraft, and senior Kyler Setzer.
The Redskins added five runs in the third inning, the first two coming on an error, and the last three on a three-run home run by VanDuzer to make it 14-1.
Sayre tacked on two more in the top of the fourth — the first on an error, and the second on a balk.
Northrup earned the win for the Redskins. He allowed one run on two hits, while striking out six and walking two. Moore pitched a perfect inning of relief.
“David Northrup pitched well and was ahead in counts from the get-go,” said VanDuzer.
Lucas Horton doubled twice, scored three runs, and drove in one run, while Moore singled twice and scored two runs, and VanDuzer homered, scored two runs, and had four RBI to lead Sayre’s nine-hit attack.
Burgess singled and scored three runs in the win, while Northrup singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run Brayden Horton doubled, scored one run, and drove in two runs, Houseknecht singled, scored one run, and had two RBI, and Garrity scored two runs.
Setzer singled and drove in one run, and Kraft singled to account for Athens’ two hits.
Sayre returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Canton in a key early-season NTL Small School Division showdown, while Athens, now 1-2, travels to Cowanesque Valley Monday.
ATHENS — Sayre scored first, but Athens answered with a flurry of runs
on its way to a 14-1 four-inning win here Saturday afternoon in NTL
Madison Smith reached base on an error to lead off the top of the first inning for Sayre, and scored on a two-out RBI double by Hailey McCaig — the Lady Redskins’ only hit of the game.
Harley Sullivan led off the home half of first with a double. It was the first of five hits in a six-run rally that gave the Lady Wildcats a 6-1 lead.
Athens starter Aliyah Butler shut down Sayre in the second and third inning, allowing only a walk to Smith in the top of the third.
In the bottom of the third, Butler rapped a pair of doubles, the second one driving in two runs, and courtesy-runner Alli Thoman scored a pair of runs, and Mallory Mummert tripled and doubled and knocked in two runs.
In all, Athens scored seven runs on nine hits in the frame to extend its lead to 13-1.
Butler earned the win for the Lady Wildcats, allowing an unearned run on one hit, while striking out three and walking one in three innings of work. Addy Repsher pitched one inning of shutout relief, striking out one and walking two.
Butler also led Athens at the plate. She was 3-for-3 with two doubles, and three RBI, while Mummert tripled and doubled, scored two runs, and drove in two runs, and Repsher singled twice, scored two runs, and knocked in two runs in the Lady Wildcats’ 16-hit attack.
Sullivan doubled twice, and scored one run in the win, while Audrey Hatch singled twice, scored one run, and drove in one run, Ashlyn VanFleet singled twice, scored one run, and had two RBI, and Caydence Macik singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run.
Megan Collins doubled and drove in one run for the Lady Wildcats, while Braelyn Wood singled, Thoman scored three runs, and Devine crossed the plate once.
Athens, now 3-0, returns to action Monday at Cowanesque Valley, while Sayre (0-1) hosts Canton Tuesday.
EAST TROY — Athens scored eight runs in the top of the first inning, and
sophomore Mason Lister tossed three no-hit innings to earn his first
varsity win in a 12-2 five-inning decision over Troy here Tuesday
afternoon in NTL Large School baseball action.
The win was also the first career varsity win for first-year Athens coach Charlie Havens, who spent 20 years (18 at Waverly and two at Corning) as a JV coach.
“I felt like we let one get away from us last week at Canton,” said Havens. “To come back and get that first win out of the way feels pretty good.”
Junior Karter Rude led off the game with a single, and sophomore Jaren Glisson worked a walk. Consecutive wild pitches gave Athens a quick 1-0 lead, and left Glisson at third base.
After a walk to sophomore Cam Sullivan, Lister ripped an RBI double to make it 2-0. Moments later, sophomore Lucas Kraft stroked an RBI single to up the lead to 3-0.
Consecutive walks to junior Kyler Setzer, senior Ben Vough and junior Josiah Stringham forced home two runs to make it 5-0. Rude stroked a two-run single push the lead to 7-0, and Lister capped the rally with an RBI single.
“We really came out swinging and we were aggressive on the base paths,” said Havens. “It was good to get guys moving, and see what we could do.
“We hit the ball really well, especially in that first inning, then we tacked on a few runs throughout the game,” he added.
The Wildcats added a run in the second and two more to extend the lead to 11-0.
Meanwhile, Lister fanned seven and walked four in three innings of no-hit ball.
“He’s thrown six innings of one-hit ball so far this year,” said Havens.
“As the game goes on, and the more pitches he throws, he gets stronger, and really starts pounding the strike zone,” added Havens. “He’s been really good for us.”
Lister has struck out 14 and walked six in six innings this season.
Rude singled twice, scored two runs, and drove in two runs to lead Athens at the plate, while Lister doubled, scored one run, and knocked in two runs, and Kraft singled, scored run, and had one RBI.
Kyler Setzer scored three runs in the win, while Vough had two RBI and one runs scored, Glisson scored two runs, Stringham scored one run and drove in one run, and Sullivan crossed the plate once.
Glisson allowed one run on two hits, while striking out two in one inning of relief, and Rude allowed an unearned run on two hits, with two strikeouts and one walk.
Athens, now 1-1, returns to action Monday at Cowanesque Valley in a game that was originally scheduled for Thursday.
EAST TROY — Sophomore Aliyah Butler earned her first varsity win in her
first varsity start, pitching a two-hitter to lead Athens to a 13-0 win
over Troy here Tuesday afternoon in NTL Large School softball action.
“Tonight was all about Aliyah (Butler),” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “She was impressive in her first varsity start.”
Butler struck out seven and walked one, while allowing just a pair of singles.
“(Catcher) Harley (Sullivan) called a really good game,” said Farrell. “She had (Butler) moving the ball all over the place.”
The Lady Wildcats jumped out to a quick lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Audrey Hatch drove in the first run with an RBI single, Addy Repsher added an RBI single, and Ashlyn VanFleet knocked home a run with an RBI groundout.
Athens put the game away with six runs in the top of the second to take a 9-0 lead.
Caydence Macik and VanFleet collected RBIs with bases-loaded walks to extend the lead to 5-0.
Butler helped her own cause with a three-run double, and scored moments later on an RBI single by Mallory Mummert.
Athens played a bit of long ball in the fifth inning. Mummert led off the frame with a home run, and Hatch capped the rally with a three-run shot to make it 13-0.
“We hit the ball hard today,” said Farrell. “We hit two home runs again … Mallory Mummert crushed one, (Audrey) Hatch hit her second one, and Aliyah helped her own cause with a bases-loaded double.
“We left 12 runners on base (at Canton), but that wasn’t the case tonight,” noted Farrell. “We only left three runners on base, so we did a much better job.
“All week, we stressed putting the ball in play, and making the defense work,” he added. “Tonight, it worked.”
Hatch led Athens at the plate with a home run, a double, three runs scored, and four RBI, while Mummert homered and singled, scored one run, and drove in two runs, and Butler doubled, scored one run, and had three RBI.
Harley Sullivan singled and scored three runs in the win, while Megan Collins singled twice and scored one run, Macie Coyle singled and scored one run, Repsher singled and drove in one run, VanFleet had two RBI and one run scored, and Macik crossed the plate twice.
The Lady Wildcats, who entered the season with very little experience, are off to a 2-0 start.
“As a coaching staff, we’re thrilled to be 2-0, but we know we still have a lot of work to do,” said Farrell.
Athens returns to action Monday at Cowanesque Valley in a game that was originally scheduled for Thursday.
CANTON — Canton took an early lead with three unearned runs in the home
half of the third inning on its way to a season-opening, 4-2, win over
Athens here Friday afternoon in NTL baseball action.
After a two-out error kept the inning alive, Weston Bellows walked, and Joel Schoonover ripped a two-RBI double into left field to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead. Carter Route capped capped the rally with a run-scoring single to left field.
The Wildcats responded quickly with a run in the top of the fourth inning, but it could have been a much bigger rally.
Sophomore Lucas Kraft stroked a lead-off single to right field, and junior Tucker Brown and senior Dylan Merritt followed with walks to load the bases. Sophomore Gage Warner knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to trim the Wildcat deficit to 3-1.
With two outs, junior Karter Rude walked to re-load the bases, but Canton’s Cooper Kitchen pitcher registered his second strike out of the inning to end the threat.
Canton added a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Hudson Ward to make it 4-1.
Athens took advantage of four walks in the top of the fifth inning to score one run, but Bellows, on in relief, registered a strikeout to end the bases-loaded jam.
The Warriors loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, but sophomore Mason Lister, on in relief, used a strikeout and an infield pop out to escape the threat unscathed.
In the top of the seventh, Lister was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Kraft followed with a single that sent Lister to third base, and Brown reached on a bunt single to load the bases.
Schoonover enter in relief for the Warriors and struck out the first two batters he faced. The game ended with a play at the plate on a ball that squirted away from the Canton catcher.
The Wildcats, who left 12 runners on base, outhit the Warriors 6-3 in the game.
Kraft led Athens with two hits, while sophomore Cam Sullivan singled and scored one run, and sophomore Jaren Glisson, Brown, and Merritt each added a single. Warner and junior Jared Peterson each had one RBI, and Kaden Setzer scored one run.
Kraft was tagged with the tough-luck loss in his first varsity start. He allowed four runs — one earned — on two hits, while striking out two and walking four in three innings of work.
Lister fanned seven and walked two in three innings of one-hit relief.
Athens returns to action Thursday at Cowanesque Valley.
CANTON — Athens banged out 20 hits, and held off a late Canton rally to
post a 10-8 season-opening win here Friday afternoon in NTL softball
With the 2020 season canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was the first game for the Lady Wildcats since May 24, 2019 — a 3-2 loss to Bloomsburg in the District 4, Class AAA quarterfinals.
“It was nice to get back out there,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “The atmosphere was electric, everybody was happy to be playing.
“I’m just glad the kids got a chance to play. We had a lot of fun,” he added. “To get the win was just icing on the cake.”
With a large group of sophomores and freshmen on the roster, the Lady Wildcats entered the game with little varsity experience.
“It’s good to get this first win, especially with a team that I had no idea about how it would respond, but the intensity level was there,” said Farrell. “The girls came out and played hard.”
Athens jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on RBI singles by junior Caydence Macik, sophomore Addy Repsher, and senior Mallory Mummert.
Canton answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the inning to trim the deficit to 3-2.
Senior Megan Collins slugged a two-RBI double in the top of the third to make it 5-2. The Lady Warriors again answered with two runs to slice the lead to 5-4.
In the top of the fourth, senior Audry Hatch ripped a lead-off solo home run, freshman Ashley VanFleet added an RBI single, and Collins drove in a run with a groundout to make it 8-4.
The Lady Wildcats tacked on a run in the top of the fifth inning to make it 9-4.
Canton scored four times in the home half of the sixth, but Macik, on in relief of Repsher, stranded the would-be tying run at third base.
Junior Macie Coyle belted a lead-off double in the top of the seventh inning, and scored on a one-out RBI single by Hatch to give Athens a 10-8 lead.
The Lady Warriors threatened in the bottom of the seventh, but Hatch threw a runner out at the plate, and Macik ended the game with a strikeout to strand runners at first and second.
“Our bats won the game today, there’s no doubt about that,” said Farrell. “A lot of girls got their first varsity hits today.”
Repsher, VanFleet, Mummert, Coyle, and senior Carlie Simpson all collected their first career hits.
Hatch had three hits, including a home run, scored two runs, and drove in two runs, while Collins had three hits, including a double, and three RBI, Repsher had three hits, one run scored, and one RBI, and senior Harley Sullivan stroked three singles and scored one run to pace Athens at the plate.
Macik and VanFleet each had two hits, two runs scored and one RBI in the win, while Mummert singled twice, scored one run, and drove in one run, Coyle doubled, scored one run, and knocked in one run, and Simpson added a single.
Repsher earned the win for the Lady Wildcats, allowing seven runs on nine hits, while striking out four and walking seven in 5 1/3 innings of work.
Macik recorded the save, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out three and walking two in 1 2/3 innings in the circle.
“The reason this team is going to be successful is versatility; we have a number of girls that can play three or four positions,” said Farrell. “When we made the pitching change in the sixth inning, we made five line-up changes; that doesn’t happen on every team.”
Athens returns to action Thursday at Cowanesque Valley.
Athens junior Gavin Bradley racked up a 40-2 record, was a PIAA runner-up at 113 pounds this season, and has earned the distinction of NTL “Wrestler of the Year” in recent voting by the league’s coaches.
Bradley was the lone Wildcat named to the first team, but five of his teammates — freshman Mason Vanderpool, sophomore Jake Courtney, juniors Kaden Setzer and Karter Rude, and senior Zach Stafursky — were named to the second team.
On his way to a state silver medal, Bradley won the North Section, District 4, and Northeast Regional titles. He was runner-up at the PIAA East Super Regional.
Vanderpool had a 14-6 record in his first varsity season. He finished second at the North Section Championships to qualify for the District 4 Championships.
Courtney was 16-11 this season. He finished third at North Sections, and was sixth at Districts.
Setzer was 26-9 on the season. He finished second at North Sections, and fifth at Districts to qualify for the Northeast Regionals.
Rude was 24-9 on the season. He finished third at the North Sections to qualify for Districts.
Stafursky capped his career with a 21-12 season. He finished second at North Sections to qualify for Districts.
ENS — Athens’ Brian Miller was named the NTL “Coach of the Year”
for the second straight season, and his star players — senior Kayleigh
Miller and junior Caydence Macik — were voted first-team NTL Large
School Division all-stars for the second straight year in voting by the
Senior Megan Collins was a second-team selection.
Towanda sophomore Paige Manchester was named the NTL “Player of the Year,” while NEB’s Maisie Neuber was voted the “Offensive Player of the Year,” Towanda’s Porschia Bennett was tabbed the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and Wyalusing’s Olivia Leichliter was named the “Sixth Man of the Year.”
Miller directed the Lady Wildcats to a 17-7 record in 2021, including a 54-42 win over Milton in the District 4, Class AAAA quarterfinals. The season ended in the semis with a 32-25 loss at Shamokin.
Athens is 39-12 under Miller the last two seasons.
Caydence Macik, junior, Athens: An athletic low-post player, Macik was a standout on both ends of the floor for the Lady Wildcats.
Macik led Athens at 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 2 blocks per game. She also averaged 2 assists per game.
Kayleigh Miller, senior, Athens: A dead-eye shooter from behind the 3-point arc, Miller graduates fifth all-time on the school’s scoring list with 1,187 points, and first all-time with 222 career 3-pointers.
This season, Miller averaged 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 assists per game. She shot 80 percent from the free-throw line, and 40 percent from the field.
Also named to the first team were Towanda’s Erin Barrett, Wyalusing’s Callie Bennett, Wellsboro’s Emma Coolidge, and Troy’s Sidney Taylor.
Megan Collins, senior, Athens: A dangerous 3-point shooter, Collins averaged 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. She made 23 3-pointers on the season, and finished with 60 for her career.
Also named to the second team were Wyalusing’s Catherine Brown and Madison Putnam, Wellsboro’s Bailey Monks Towanda’s Amanda Horton, and Troy’s Rachel Kingsley.
ATHENS — Junior J.J. Babcock and sophomore Mason Lister were named NTL
Large School Division first-team all-stars, while juniors Tucker Brown
and Nalen Carling were second-team selections by the league’s coaches.
Troy junior Ty Barrett was named the NTL “Player of the Year,” while North Penn-Liberty’s Noah Spencer was voted the “Offensive Player of the Year,” Wyalusing’s Mitchell Burke was named the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and North Penn-Mansfield’s Curtis Craig was tabbed the “Sixth Man of the Year.”
North Penn-Liberty’s Brian Litzelman and his coaching staff was voted “Coaching Staff of the Year.”
J.J. Babcock, junior, Athens: A versatile 6-5 swingman, Babcock could score in transition, from the perimeter, and in the low blocks.
He led the Wildcats in scoring at 14.8 points per game, while shooting 48.5 percent from the field. He also led the team with 24 blocked shots and 61 deflections.
Babcock was second on the team at 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, as well as 38 steals, and 14 3-pointers.
Mason Lister, sophomore, Athens: At 6-4, Lister was a standout on both ends of the court for the Wildcats. He led the team in assists (4 per game), steals (49), and 3-pointers (30).
Lister was second on the team at 10.8 points per game, and averaged 4.8 rebounds per game.
Also named to the first team were Troy’s Mason Imbt and Ethan Vannoy, and Wellsboro’s Liam Manning and Darryn Callahan.
Tucker Brown, junior, Athens: One of the premier defenders in the league, Brown was a much-improved player on the offensive end of the floor.
Brown averaged 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 15 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field, and 70.8 from the free-throw line.
Nalen Carling, junior, Athens: Long and athletic, Carling was a big contributor in his first season at Athens.
Carling averaged 9 points, a team-high 6.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1 steal per game. He shot a team-best 49.1 percent from the field, and also led the team with a 71.9 percentage from the free-throw line.
Also named to the second team were North Penn-Mansfield’s Karson Dominick and Alex Stein, Troy’s Jake Deitrick, and Wellsboro’s Connor Adams.
HERSHEY — Athens junior Gavin Bradley was unable to create the up-tempo
match he wanted in his PIAA Class AA 113-pound championship bout with
Wyoming Area sophomore Jaden Pepe, and dropped a 3-2 decision here
Friday evening at the Giant Center.
Bradley, now a three-time PIAA medalist, finishes the season at 40-2 — both losses to Pepe — with his silver-medal performance. Pepe finishes the season at 19-1 — his only loss to Bradley.
“Gavin had a great season,” said Athens coach Shawn Bradley. “He wrestled his butt off the entire season, and he works his tail off all the time.
“He deserved to win that much, he just didn’t do quite enough to win,” noted Bradley. “This one is going to hurt him for a little bit. He can use that as a driving force next year.”
Bradley pressured Pepe the entire first period, but it was Pepe who scored a takedown on a low double-leg with 15 seconds remaining to take a 2-0 lead into the second period.
Bradley deferred, and Pepe chose bottom to start the second period, but Bradley elected to start neutral, giving Pepe a 3-0 lead.
Bradley pressed the issue for nearly the entire second period, but it was Bradley that was warned for stalling with 24 seconds remaining. The duo remained on their feet for the entire two minutes.
Bradley scored a quick escape at the outset of the third period to trim the deficit to 3-1.
After two stalemates, and four whistles for going out-of-bounds, Pepe was penalized for stalling with 17 seconds remaining to make it 3-2.
Bradley got in on a leg twice late in the match, but couldn’t finish either one off.
“(Gavin) has to have a little better mat sense,” said Shawn Bradley. “He had two shots on the edge … he just has to score there.”
Neither Bradley was pleased with the pace of the match.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” said Shawn Bradley. “(Pepe) won the match, he wrestled within the rules and won the match.
“Pulling our elbows, staying still, and doing nothing the whole match, though, it’s hard to somebody who’s not wrestling back,” he added.
“I pushed the pace the whole match,” said Gavin Bradley. “I tried my best to get to my stuff, but it didn’t turn out to be the match I wanted.
“He was always moving backward,” he added. “It’s hard to wrestle someone like that … I mean, we’re in the state finals, I think we should wrestle.”
Gavin Bradley, who finished sixth at States as a freshman and seventh last year, said he still has one more goal to accomplish, and will continue working hard.
“Knowing him, he’ll probably be at practice Monday, but I need a break,” laughed Shawn Bradley.
“I never take breaks,” said Gavin Bradley. “Sooner or later, I’m going to get what I want, and when I do, it will all be worth it.”
HERSHEY — Athens junior Gavin Bradley will wrestle for state gold here
this evening at the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships at the Giant
Center, and he’ll be wrestling a very familiar foe.
Bradley, now 40-1, will square off with Wyoming Area’s Jaden Pepe (18-1) in the 113-pound finals shortly after 5 p.m.
Athens coach Shawn Bradley said Gavin Bradley is not content with an appearance in the finals.
“I asked Gavin if he was done, he said, ‘Nope.’ We’re here to get one more,” said Shawn Bradley. “Hopefully, it erases that hurt he had last weekend.”
Gavin Bradley opened his action Friday morning with a 6-4 win over Bentworth freshman Chris Vargo in the quarterfinals, then dispatched of Western Super Regional champion Coen Bainey of Bald Eagle Area with a 10-7 decision in the semifinals.
“(Vargo and Bainey) are both really good kids,” said Shawn Bradley. “It’s hard to wrestle Gavin the first time through because of his pace and his strength — he keeps such a fast pace, and he’s really strong.”
Gavin Bradley scored a takedown just seven seconds into his quarter-final match-up with Vargo, who entered the bout with a 17-1 record. After riding top for 40 seconds, Bradley was whistled for potentially-dangerous actions as he worked a power-half.
Bradley cut Vargo loose, then needed just nine seconds for another takedown and a 4-1 lead with 59 seconds remaining.
About 40 seconds later, Bradley was whistled again and penalized a point for potentially-dangerous action on his power-half. Fargo scored an escape in the closing seconds, cutting Bradley’s advantage to 4-3 after the first two minutes.
Shawn Bradley took the blame for the “potentially-dangerous” calls.
“That’s more my fault than anything,” he said. “As you can tell, we spend 90 percent of our time on our feet. We probably need to spend a little more time on the mat, but you make your money on your feet.
“Gavin can turn anybody because it’s tighter than heck up there,” noted Bradley. “He just has to attack that arm, be a little more aggressive, instead of being nice with it.”
Gavin Bradley chose neutral to start the second period, and scored a takedown midway through for a 6-3 lead. Fargo escaped about 30 seconds later to trim the deficit to 6-4, and the duo remained on their feet for the final 42 seconds of the second period.
Vargo chose bottom to start the third period, but Bradley was able to ride him the entire two minutes to preserve the win
“Gavin did a nice job on top in the third period,”said Shawn Bradley.
In the semifinals, Bradley scored a takedown 14 seconds into the bout to take a 2-0 lead, but Bainey recorded an escape 15 seconds later to make it 2-1. The duo remained on their feet for the final 91 seconds of the first period.
Bradley chose neutral to start the second period, and scored a takedown with 1:26 remaining. He cut Bainey loose 14 seconds later to make it 4-2. Bradley added a little cushion to his lead with another takedown with 15 seconds remaining, upping his lead to 6-2 entering the final two minutes.
Bainey, who entered the match with a 23-1 record, scored a switch off the third-period whistle to trim the deficit to 6-4, but Bradley quickly escaped to take a 7-4 lead.
Midway through the period, Bainey scored a takedown and momentarily had Bradley in a cradle, but the Athens wrestler quickly broke the hold and escaped to take an 8-6 lead with 46 seconds left.
Just eleven seconds later, Bradey got in on a single-leg, and finished it off for a 10-6 lead. Bainey escaped with 14 seconds remaining, but Bradley fought off his takedown attempts to preserve the win.
“That match was a lot closer than it probably should have been,” said Shawn Bradley. “(Gavin) gave him five escapes, and gave up one reversal — the kids scored two points, we gave him five.”
Bradley and Pepe, who is now 18-1, have met in the finals each of the last two weeks. Bradley won a 5-3 decision at the Northeast Regionals, while Pepe scored a 9-6 decision at the Eastern Super Regionals.
“(Pepe) did a great job last week making a couple adjustments,” said Shawn Bradley. “Hopefully, it’s our turn to make a couple adjustments.
“We said last week, it we’re going to lose to him that was the time,” noted Bradley. “Hopefully this week, we can clean some stuff up.
“Of course, if (Gavin) doesn’t get dropped on his head last week that match might have been different,” he added.
Shawn Bradley said the key will be for Gavin Bradley to keep the pressure on Pepe.
“Gavin just has to wrestle, keep the pace high and make (Pepe) wrestle six minutes. We just need to make it a track meet.”
DANVILLE — Dante
Harward and Jagger Dressler combined for 40 first-half points to lead
Danville in an 86-39 win over Athens here Tuesday in the semifinals of
the District 4, Class AAAA boys basketball playoffs.
First-year Athens coach Jim Lister could do nothing but praise Danville’s senior-laden team, which improves to 15-1 on the season, after the win.
“(Danville) is just a tremendous basketball team,” he said. “I told the kids when we came out here tonight, that we would have to play A-plus basketball.
“On film, they are just terrific, and they are just as good in person.
“There isn’t a superstar on that team, there are just five really good basketball players,” noted Lister. “They play great team basketball, they move well, and when they get looks, they bury the shots.
“They have a great shot at winning the strict title on Saturday,” he added.
Harward pumped in a trio of 3-pointers and scored 13 points in the first quarter, and Dressler added seven points to help the Ironmen to a 24-8 lead after the first eight minutes.
Danville jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, but buckets by junior Troy Pritchard and sophomore Mason Lister, sandwiched around a score by K.J. Riley trimmed the deficit to 9-6, but the Ironmen took control with a 13-0 run to take a 22-6 lead.
Harward canned two more 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the second quarter, and Dressler added nine points, including a 3-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play, as Danville outscored Athens 26-17 to take a 50-25 lead at the intermission.
The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to 12 points on a couple occasions in the second quarter, the last being at 29-17, but the Ironmen used a 16-2 blitz to blow the game open and take a 47-19 lead with 1:35 left in the first half.
Lister said his defense had no answers for the Ironmen.
“We came out trying to play man-to-man defense,” he said. “They screened well, and they don’t need much room to bury the shots, so they were running off their screens well, and they ran their offense well.
“Some of the shots were contested, and they still made them.
“It’s just a good basketball team,” added Lister. “They are solid fundamentally, and they took it to us.”
Lister also noted his team didn’t adjust to the physicality of the game.
“(Danville) plays very good defense,” he said. “They are right in your grill, and their hands are busy.
“And (the officials) let you play down here,” noted Lister. “You get away with a lot more here the you do (in the NTL); and that’s something we have to get use to.
“I told the kids at the beginning, ‘you can’t let their physicality get in your head. You have to play the game the same way,’” added Lister. “Maybe it did get in our head a little bit.”
Junior J.J. Babcock scored 15 of the Wildcats’ 25 points in the first half, including 13 points int he second quarter.
After trading buckets for the opening minute of the second half, Danville scored 11 straight points to take a 63-31 lead with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
Babcock led Athens with 16 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, four rebounds, and two steals, while Pritchard scored nine points, Brown added six points, and Lister had five assists and three boards.
Harward led Danville with 33 points and six 3-pointers, while Dressler had 31 points and three 3-pointers, and Riley and Brady Hills added seven points apiece.
The Wildcats end the season at 14-10. They lose just two seniors — Jon Smith and James Benninger-Jones, but Lister said they will be missed.
“Our two seniors are great role models for us,” said Lister.
“They knew their roles this year,” he noted. “They came to every practice, and they busted their ass every single night. They worked hard to make us better.
“I’m real proud of our seniors,” added Lister. “They are a pleasure to be around, they’re great kids, and I’m positive they will do very well in life.”
COAL TOWNSHIP — Athens turned in its typical strong defensive effort,
but could not buy a ticket in a 32-25 loss to Shamokin here Monday night
in the quarterfinals of the District 4, Class AAAA girls basketball
“We didn’t shoot the ball that well, and we didn’t rebound on the offensive end,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “So, if you don’t shoot the basketball well, and you don’t offensive rebounds, it’s tough to win a game like that.”
The Lady Wildcats shot 26 percent (10 of 38) from the field, including a 2-for-15 (13 percent) performance from behind the 3-point arc. The grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the game, but seven were in the first half.
MIller said the physical style of play also favored the Lady Indians.
“The nature of the game, with what the officials allowed … was a physical game,” said Miller. “When you have two teams that are physical and there are only seven fouls called, that’s a tough team to play against, especially for our team.”
Shamokin was whistled for eight fouls, and Athens was whistled for seven.
Athens took the lead on its first possession of the game on a nice low-post move by junior Caydence Macik, but Shamokin scored the next eight points.
Macik scored on another move in the low blocks with 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter, trimming the deficit to 8-4, and ending an Athens scoring drought that last 7 minutes and 11 seconds.
The Lady Wildcats were held without a field goal in the second quarter, and made just 3 of 7 free throw attempts, but their defense was stellar, limiting Shamokin to just six points in the stanza. The Lady Indians led 14-7 at the half.
“We scored seven points in the first half, and we were still in the game,” said Miller. “We felt like if we had made a couple shots, or cut out a couple of our defensive mistakes, we would have been right there.
“We did some good things, and played well defensively,” added Miller.
Athens cut the lead to two points, at 14-12, with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter on a lay-up by Macik, who moments later drained a 3-pointer from the top-of-the-key.
Shamokin used an 8-3 spurt over the next 3 1/2 minutes to push its lead back to 22-15.
Macik scored a pair of buckets in the final two minutes, sandwiched around a basket by Grace Nazih to trim the Shamokin lead to 24-19 heading into the final eight minutes.
“It seemed like there were several occasions where we would get the lead to two, and then it would be eight,” said Miller. “We’d make a nice run to get it back to three, and they would get it back out to eight. It was frustrating.”
Athens committed a pair of turnover on its first two possession of the fourth quarter, and the Lady Indians turned them into transition buckets by Madison Lippay and Nazih to stretch the lead to 28-19.
“(Shamokin) is too good of a defensive team to give easy baskets, and we’re not going to get those easy baskets, and we didn’t tonight,” said Miller. “Everything we got, we earned.
“When you’re playing a very good defensive team like Shamokin, it’s very tough to come back when you’re down like that,” added Miller.
Senior Hannah Blackman scored a bucket with 6:14 left in the game to make it 28-21. Nearly 3 1/2 minutes later, Macik scored to trim the deficit to 28-23.
Moments later, Nolter scored on a drive to the bucket to push the lead back to seven points, at 30-23, and end Shamokin’s 4-minute and 32-second scoring drought.
Macik led Athens with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Collins added five points, two steals, and two assists, senior Rachel Stephens grabbed five rebounds, sophomore Karlee Bartlow had three boards and two assists, and senior Kayleigh Miller was held scoreless for the first time since her freshman season, dished out two assists.
Athens finishes the season at 17-7.
The Lady Wildcats will graduate four seniors — Miller, Collins, Stephens, and Blackman.
“This was the 100th (varsity) basketball game for these seniors … they were 69-31; that’s pretty good,” said Miller. “For those girls to play that many games in four years is impressive.
“This is a great group of girls. They are good basketball players, and they are good kids.
“The Athens basketball community was truly lucky to watch these fours girls play the last four years,” noted Miller. “They brought exciting basketball to our school and were a pleasure to coach and watch.
“It will be difficult to replace them. It will tough to lose players like that who work hard in practice, and are leaders,” added Miller. “Hopefully, we can find someone to step up, and we can keep the program where it is.”
LEWISBURG — Despite trailing, Athens junior Gavin Bradley seemed to have
momentum on his side in a battle of the top-two ranked 113-pounders in
the state, until an illegal mat return nearly brought the PIAA Eastern
Super Regional championship match to a premature conclusion here
Saturday afternoon at Martz Hall.
Bradley, the state’s top-ranked 113-pounder, trailed Wyoming Area’s Jaden Pepe, 7-4, after two periods, and chose bottom to start the third. He immediately got to his feet, but Pepe lifted Bradley, while pinning his left arm to his side, and returned him to the mat.
The official immediately stopped the match after Bradley’s left shoulder and head were the first things to hit the mat. After a seven-minute stoppage, Bradley, who was awarded a penalty point for the illegal return, was allowed to continue.
Bradley scored a quick escape to trim the deficit to 7-6, but couldn’t dent Pepe’s defenses, ultimately giving up a takedown with 21 seconds remaining to seal Pepe’s 9-6 win.
“We had (Pepe) broke until we got slammed,” said Athens coach Shawn Bradley. “(Pepe) got a seven-minute break after the slam, or that’s a different match. He was gassed.
“It was a tough one. (Gavin) could have won that match three different ways, but he didn’t, so that’s something to work on,” noted Shawn Bradley. “It is what it is. We have to work on that and come back next week.
“Kudos to Gavin for getting up and wrestling again,” added Shawn Bradley. “Honestly, the trainers didn’t want him wrestling.”
The loss is the first of the season for Bradley, who is now 38-1. Bradley owns a 5-3 victory over Pepe in the finals of the Northeast Regionals.
“Hopefully, it motivates him, that’s the bottom line,” said Shawn Bradley. “This match didn’t really mean anything. Next week is the one that matters.”
Pepe started fast with a takedown just 8 seconds into the bout. He was able to ride top for 43 seconds until Bradley scored an escape to trim the deficit to 2-1. The duo spent the final 69 seconds of the period on their feet.
Pepe scored a reversal just 10 seconds into the second period for a 4-1 lead. Bradley escaped wth 1:18 remaining, and 25 seconds later collected a takedown to tie the bout at 4-4.
Pepe escaped moments later to take a 5-4 lead, then, in a wild scramble, ended up with a takedown with 17 seconds remaining in the second period.
“Gavin should have had a takedown there, and he gave up a takedown, and almost back points,” said Shawn Bradley. “He had to score there, that was a big one.”
“Gavin should have been in control at the end of the second period, going into the third period; that was a big takedown,” added Bradley.
Bradley returns to action Friday in Hershey at the PIAA, Class AA Championships.