January 18, 2021 Tim Birney

SAYRE — Sayre used a 14-5 second-quarter run to rally from an early deficit, and then held on for a 33-29 win over crosstown rival Athens here Monday evening in NTL junior varsity boys basketball action.

Connor Mosher knocked down a 3-pointer and scored five points to help Athens to a 7-5 lead after the first eight minutes.

In the second quarter, Kannon VanDuzer scored six points, and Josh Arnold added four points as the junior Redskins rallied for a 19-12 halftime lead.

Jackson Hubbard scored four points in the third quarter as Sayre used a 9-6 spurt to stretch its advantage to 28-18 heading into the final eight minutes.

Carson Smith, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter, scored four points in the fourth quarter, and Lucas Kraft canned his second trey of the game, but Arnold scored five points in the fourth quarter to help Sayre preserve the victory.

Arnold led Sayre with 17 points, while VanDuzer and Hubbard aded six points apiece.

Smith led Athens with 10 points, while Mosher scored seven, Kraft added six, and Chris Mitchell chipped in with four points.

Sayre improves to 4-0 on the season, while Athens falls to 2-4.

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January 16, 2021 Tim Birney

HERNDON, Pa. — Juniors Gavin Bradley and Karter Rude each went unbeaten Saturday to help Athens to a 3-2 mark at the Line Mountain Duals in District 4 wrestling action.

Junior Kaden Setzer and sophomore newcomer Chris Bathgate each went 4-1, and sophomore Jake Courtney, junior Colin Rosh, senior Zach Stafursky were both 3-2 on the day. Freshmen Mason Vanderpool, Josh Nittinger and Josh Courtney each had two wins.

The Wildcats knocked off Line Mountain, Hughesville, and Lewisburg, but dropped decisions to Benton and Selinsgrove.

Athens 41, Line Mountain 33
The Wildcats won three of the last four bouts, all by fall, to rally for a 41-33 win over Line Mountain Saturday morning.

Gavin Bradley registered a fall over LM’s Brody Long in 1:14 at 113 pounds, which pair with forfeits received by Nittinger, at 285, to open the match, and Vanderpool, at 120, gave the Wildcats, who issued a forfeit at 106, an 18-6 lead.

After LM’s Lane Schadel edged Jake Courtney, 8-6, at 126 pounds, Athens issued a forfeit at 132, and saw its lead shrink to 18-15.

After Setzer moved through Max Bingaman with a 16-0 technical fall in 3:35 to put the Wildcats ahead 23-15, Line Mountain won by fall at 145 and 152 to take a 27-23 lead.

The LM lead was brief, however, as Rude pinned Chandon Maurer in 1:21 at 160 pounds to move Athens back in front at 29-27.

Stafursky gave the Wildcats some cushion with a pin of Cale King in 2:40 at 172 pounds, and Rosh, at 189, clinched the win with a pin of Isaac Shaffer in 4:46 for an insurmountable 41-27 with one weight class left.

The Wildcats gave up a forfeit at 215 to provide the final margin.

Benton 52, Athens 13
The Wildcats managed just three wins against the powerhouse Benton squad in a 52-13 defeat.

Bradley dominated Dylan Granahan in a 6-0 decision at 120 pounds, but that was the only bout the Wildcats won through 145 pounds, and trailed 28-3.

Bathgate forged a 22-10 major decision over Nick Stevens at 152 pounds, and Rude followed with a 35-second fall over Derek Dietz at 160 pounds to trim the deficit to 28-13, but the Tigers won the next four weight classes, including three by fall to put the match away.

Athens 48, Hughesville 12
Athens won three out of four contested weight classes, and took advantage of a 30-point advantage in forfeit points to forge a 48-12 win over Lewisburg Saturday afternoon.

Junior Lucas Forbes opened the match with a hard-fought, 8-5, win over Reese Moon at 145 pounds to give the Wildcats an early 3-0 lead.

After forfeits to Bathgate (152), Rude (160) and Stafursky (172) pushed the lead to 21-0, Rosh worked a 4-2 decision over Chase Snyder at 189 pounds to make it 24-0.

Forfeits to Bradley and Vanderpool at 113 and 120, respectively, up the Wildcat lead to 36-6, the Jacob Courtney finished off Kadin Fetterman by fall in 5:34 at 126 pounds to make it 42-6.

The teams traded forfeits, with Setzer getting his hand raised at 138 pounds, to provide the final margin.

Athens 51, Lewisburg 18
Athens won five consecutive bouts early on, and improved to 3-1 on the day with a 51-18 win over Lewisburg.

After issuing a forfeit at 106, the Wildcats won five straight weight classes to take a 26-6 lead.

Josh Courtney started the roll with a pin of Quintonq Bartlett in 3:40 at 113 pounds to even the match at 6-6, and Bradley gave the Wildcats the lead for good with a 17-7 major decision over Thomas Lyons at 120 pounds.

Jacob Courtney put on an offensive display in a 24-10 major decision of Derek Gessner at 126 pounds, and, following a forfeit to Layla Bennett at 132 pounds, Setzer capped the Athens run with a pin of Daniel Leao in 23 seconds at 138 pounds.

After a Lewisburg pin at 145 cut the Athens advantage to 23-12, the Wildcats ripped off three more wins to take an insurmountable 39-12 lead.

Bathgate initiated Athens’ three-bout run with a hard-fought, 4-3, decision over Hagen Person at 152 pounds, and Rude followed by decking Hayden Runyon in 85 seconds at 160 pounds. Stafursky finished off the stretch with an 8-0 major decision of Derek Shedleski at 172 pounds.

Following a Lewisburg pin at 189, Athens received forfeits at 215 and 285 to close out the match.

Selinsgrove 45, Athens 21

Athens gave up three forfeits, and a slew of bonus points in a 45-21 setback to Selinsgrove in the final match of the day.

The Seals used a pair of forfeits (215 and 106), sandwiched around a technical fall at 285 pounds, to build an early 17-0 lead.

The Wildcats countered, however, with three straight wins to trim the deficit to 17-15.

At 113 pounds, Josh Courtney pinned Ryan Gavason in 4:40, and Bradley followed with a dominating 20-5 technical fall of Leo Martinez in 4 minutes.

Jacob Courtney finished if off with a 13-5 major decision of Trent Turner t 126 pounds.

Selinsgrove won the next three bouts, including a forfeit at 132 pounds, to push its lead back to 33-15, but Athens stayed alive with back-to-back wins.

Bathgate forged a 6-1 decision over Josiah Foss at 152 pounds, and Rude blanked Cale Bastian, 3-0, at 160 pounds to cut the deficit to 33-21.

The Seals finished off the win with pins at 172 and 189.



285: Joshua Nittinger (A) won by forfeit;
106: Nolan Baumert (L) won by forfeit;
113: Gavin Bradley (A) by fall over Brody Long (L),1:24;
120: Mason Vanderpool (A) won by forfeit;
126: Lane Schadel (L) dec. Jacob  Courtney (A), 8-6;
132: Mason Leshock (L) won by forfeit;
138: Kaden Setzer (A) tech.fall over Max Bingaman (L), 16-0 @ 3:35;
145: Ian Coller (L) by fall over Lucas Forbes (A), 0:35;
152: Bryce Carl (L) by fall over Christopher Bathgate (A), 4:32;
160: Karter Rude (A) by fall over Chandon Maurer (L), 1:21;
172: Zachary Stafursky (A) by fall over Cale King (L), 2:40;
189: Colin Rosh (A) by fall over Isaac Shaffer (L), 4:46;
215: Dominick Bridi (L) won by forfeit.

113: Chase Burke (B) tech. fall over Joshua Courtney (A), 16-0;
120: Gavin Bradley (A) dec. Dylan Granahan (B), 6-0;
126: Ethan  Kolb (B) tech fall over Jacob  Courtney (A), 15-0;
132: Gable  Strickland (B) won by forfeit;
138: Remington  Morrow (B) by fall over Kaden Setzer (A), 5:09;
145: Mason Smith (B) by fall over Lucas Forbes (A), 0:18;
152: Christopher Bathgate (A) major dec. Nicholas Stevens (B), 22-10;
160: Karter Rude (A) by fall over Derek Dietz (B), 0:35;
172: Nolan Lear (B) by fall over Zachary Stafursky (A), 5:00;
189: Mason Michael (B) by fall over Colin Rosh (A), 1:24;
215: Jacob Bobersky (B) won by forfeit;
285: Zach Poust (B) by fall over Joshua Nittinger (A), 2:22;
106: No match.

145: Lucas Forbes (A) dec. Reese Moon (H), 8-5;
152: Christopher Bathgate (A) won by forfeit;
160: Karter Rude (A) won by forfeit;
172: Zachary Stafursky (A) won by forfeit;
189: Colin Rosh (A) dec Chase Snyder (H), 4-2;
215: No match;
285: Caleb Burkhart (H) by fall over Joshua Nittinger (A), 0:58;
106: No match;
113: Gavin Bradley (A) won by forfeit;
120: Mason Vanderpool (A) won by forfeit;
126: Jacob  Courtney (A) by fall over Kadin Fetterman (H), 5:34;
132: Caiden  Puderbach (H) won by forfeit;
138: Kaden Setzer (A) won by forfeit.


106: Jace Gessner (L) won by forfeit;
113: Joshua Courtney (A) by fall over Quintonq Bartlett (L), 3:40;
120: Gavin Bradley (A) major dec. Thomas Lyons (L), 17-7;
126: Jacob  Courtney (A) major dec. Derek Gessner (L), 24-10;
132: Layla  Bennett (A) won by forfeit;
138: Kaden Setzer (A) by fall over Daniel Leao (L), 0:23;
145: Logan  Bartlett (L) by fall over Lucas Forbes (A), 2:28;
152: Christopher Bathgate (A) dec. Hagen Persun (L), 4-3;
160: Karter Rude (A) by fall over Hayden Runyon (L), 1:25;
172: Zachary Stafursky (A) major dec. Derek Shedleski (L), 8-0;
189: Trent Wenrich (L) by fall over Josiah Stringham (A), 1:58;
215: Colin Rosh (A) won by forfeit;
285: Joshua Nittinger (A) won by forfeit.

215: Ryan Aument (S) won by forfeit;
285: Nate Schon (S) tech. fall over Joshua Nittinger (A),16-0 @ 1:50;
106: Blake Rising (S) won by forfeit;
113: Joshua Courtney (A) by fall over Ryan Gavason (S), 4:40;
120: Gavin Bradley (A) tech. fall over Leo Martinez (S), 20-5 @ 4:00;
126: Jacob  Courtney (A) major dec. Trent Turner (S), 13-5;
132: Andrew Sassaman (S) won by forfeit;
138: Aiden Gaugler (S) major dec. Kaden Setzer (A), 11-2;
145: Garrett  Paradis (S) by fall over Lucas Forbes (A), 1:26;
152: Christopher Bathgate (A) dec. Josiah Foss (S), 6-1;
160: Karter Rude (A) dec. Cale Bastian (S), 3-0;
172: Coy Bastian (S) by fall over Zachary Stafursky (A), 3:03;
189: Steven Miller (S) by fall over Colin Rosh (A), 3:07.

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January 16, 2021 Bob Baker

ATHENS – Going into Saturday’s NEB-Athens boys basketball contest both coaches were worried how much their respective teams might have left in the gas tank.

After all, just the night before, Northeast Bradford coach Paul Burgert had watched his Panther team erase an early 21-point deficit before eventually bowing to the undefeated Canton.

Athens coach Jim Lister cheered on his young Wildcat team as it overcame a fourth-quarter, 16-point deficit to take a hard-fought, one-point victory over Wellsboro.

Lister’s team had no letdown here as the Wildcats trailed just once – on the game’s opening basket – and scored a 65-56 win over the visiting Panthers.

J.J. Babcock’s 17 points led three Athens players in double-figures as the Wildcats improve to 3-2 on the year.

“I’ve been waiting for them to come out of their shell,” said Lister afterward. “Our last three games, we started slow. I’m happy we came right out at the opening tip.”

The Wildcats slowly built themselves a 21-14 advantage at the end of the opening eight minutes.

Employing some half-court trapping defense in the second quarter, the Wildcats were able to stretch their lead to 10 points – 34-24 – with a Babcock 3-pointer at the top of the circle.

Tucker Brown, off a steal of a Northeast inbounds pass, upped the gap to 12 before Lucas Crown answered for the Panthers. Another Babcock basket, with just four seconds remaining in the half, produced a 38-26 advantage at the break.

Babcock put together a seven of 11 outing from the floor as he produced a solid game from both the outside and taking the basketball to the bucket. He also would pull down nine rebounds.

“We didn’t handle their press well,” noted Burgert after watching his team commit 15 turnovers on the evening – 10 in the opening half. “That really took us out of our rhythm.”

Burgert added his Panther team is still learning how to play together.

“Lucas (Crown) is our one player returning with significant time from last year. We’re a new bunch of guys.”

Consecutive buckets from Mason Lister, Babcock and Shayne Reid, to open the third stanza, put the Athens lead at 44-26, while the Panthers went cold for the first 2:50.

Ethan Finch and Dan Seeley countered with back-to-back buckets for Northeast, but the Wildcats were calmly taking control.

The two teams exchanged baskets until Nalen Carling’s follow-up bucket and free throw, plus Lister’s basket gave Athens a 20-point lead. Athens would take a 57-39 advantage into the final eight minutes.

There, the Panthers found some leftover energy as they attempted to claw their way back into the game. Twice they got the gap down to 12 points – the first on consecutive baskets by Crown and Nick Beers. However, the second time occurred too late in the game on another Seeley basket at 63-51.

Griffin Stein netted an Athens basket prior to consecutive Northeast buckets to close out the final seconds.

“I was more worried about what we would have left after Friday’s game with Canton,” added Burgert. “One thing about us is, you never have to worry about a lack of effort.”

Crown set the pace with 18 points for the Panthers, off to a 0-3 start on the season. Beers, in his first season with Northeast after North Rome elected not to have a basketball season, chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds. Seeley finished with eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Finch totaled seven points.

Lister added 14 points and six rebounds for Athens. Brown, on a 6 of 7 outing from the field, netted 12 points, while Reid finished with eight. Carling set the pace with a team-high nine rebounds. Stein totaled seven points.

Athens now gets ready for a Monday night showdown with Valley rival Sayre on the Redskins’ home court.

“It’s Athens-Sayre,” noted Lister in taking a quick peak toward Monday. “Both teams will be ready to go.”

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January 16, 2021 Tim Birney

WELLSBORO — Athens overcame ice-cold shooting, thanks to a stingy defense, and rallied for a 28-22 win over Wellsboro here Saturday afternoon in NTL Large School girls basketball action.

“We played a very good defensive game today,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “Our offense struggled to make shots, but our defense kept us in the game, and we did make some keys shots down the stretch.

“It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win,” added Miller.

The Lady Wildcats, now 3-1, shot just 21 percent (9 of 42) from the field in the win, including an 18-percent (2 of 11) performance from behind the three-point arc.

Athens led 7-6 after the first eight minutes, but were outscored, 9-3, in the second quarter, and Wellsboro went to the halftime locker room with a 15-10 lead.

Senior Kayleigh Miller, who had five points in the stanza, and senior Megan Collins each knocked down a 3-pointer, and sophomore Karlee Bartlow converted an old-fashioned three-point play to fuel an 11-6 spurt that tied the game at 21-21 entering the final eight minutes.

The Lady Wildcats turned up the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter and allowed the Lady Green Hornets just one free throw. Meanwhile, senior Rachel Stephens and junior Cayden Macik scored buckets to put Athens up 25-22.

Macik made 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Macik led Athens with eight points and four boards, while Barlow had eight points and five rebounds, Miller had five points, four rebounds, four assists, and two assists, Collins had five points, three rebounds, and two blocked shots, and Natalie Watson chipped in with three rebounds.

Emma Coolidge led Wellsboro with seven points.

Athens, now 3-1, returns to action Tuesday at North Penn-Mansfield.

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January 15, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens wiped out a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit in less than three minutes, then needed a pair of 3-pointers by sophomore Mason Lister in the final 47 seconds to pull off a stunning, 54-53, come-from-behind win over Wellsboro here Friday night in NTL boys basketball action.

Through the first three-plus quarters, the Wildcats shot less than 30 percent from the field, and were out-rebounded by a smaller Wellsboro team, but junior Tucker Brown’s 3-pointer triggered a 17-1 blitz that pulled Athens even with just over 2 minutes to play.

“I’ve been waiting for these kids to get going for three games,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “I know what they can do, I’ve seen it for years. They just needed to turn it up a notch, and to get excited.

“All of a sudden, I think Tucker Brown’s 3 sparked them,” he noted. “They started playing defense, they started attacking … it was a whole different team in the last five minutes.

“I’m proud of them, they didn’t quit,” added Lister. “We did a lot of things wrong tonight, but hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone to get going, and win some basketball games.”

Wellsboro jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but Lister and junior J.J. Babcock scored fast-break buckets, and senior Griffin Stein canned a 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Wildcats a 9-8 advantage.

Athens took a 13-12 lead on a pair of free throws with 4:36 remaining in the first half, but Wellsboro scored five straight points to take a 17-13 lead.

The team exchanged buckets, with Wellsboro’s Isaac Keane scoring with 5 seconds remaining to give the Green Hornets a 21-17 lead at the half.

Peyton McClure buried a 3-pointer on Wellsboro’s first possession of the second half, and Darryn Callahan added a bucket with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter to up the Hornets’ advantage to 26-17.

Lister scored a bucket in transition with 5:48 remaining, and Babcock followed with two fast-break buckets in the next 59 seconds to cut the deficit to 26-23. It could have been closer, but the Wildcats went 0-for-5 from the free-throw line in that stretch.

Keane stopped the Athens run with a 3-pointer with 4:10 left in the third quarter to make it 29-23.

Athens cut the deficit to 31-27 with 2:49 left on a fast-break bucket by Babcock, but Liam Manning scored the final four points of the quarter to give the Green Hornets a 35-27 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

McClure drained another 3-pointer on Wellsboro’s first possession of the fourth quarter to stretch the Wellsboro lead to 38-27.

After Lister knocked down a runner in the lane to cut the deficit to 38-29 with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter, Wellsboro used a 9-2 spurt — capped by an old-fashioned three-point play Callahan — to take a 47-31 lead with 5:07 remaining in the contest.

The Wildcats made just 14 of 51 shots to this point, but made 8 of 10 down the stretch, including four 3-pointers. They were also 3 of 10 from the free-throw line for the game..

“We can’t continue to miss easy lay-ups, and miss free throws,” said Lister. “It’s stuff we work on every single day, and talk about all the time.

“I’ve told you, it’s a simple formula: play defense, make lay-ups, make fouls shots, and win basketball games,” noted Lister. “We have to do that.”

With 4:51 remaining in the contest, Brown buried a 3-pointer, and junior Nalen Carling followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the deficit to 47-37.

After a free throw by Connor Adams pushed the Wellsboro lead back to 11 points,  Carling knocked down a short jumper, and junior Tucker Brown drove through traffic for a lay-up to trim the deficit to 48-41 with 3:39 left in the game.

Carling kept it going with a long 3-pointer from behind the top of the key to cut the Wellsboro lead to 48-44 with 3:02 remaining.

On Wellsboro’s next trip down the court, Babcock blocked a shot, and then got out in front of the fast break for an uncontested lay-up. Moments later, Lister picked up a steal, and found junior Shayne Reid for a lay-up in transition to tie the game at 48-48 with 2:08 left in the game.

After an Athens timeout, Keane scored on a short jumper to put Wellsboro up 50-48 with 1:42 remaining. Moments later, Adams registered a steal and was fouled on his way to the bucket. He made 1 of 2 to up the Green Hornet lead to 51-48 with 59 seconds left.

With 47 seconds remaining, Lister buried a 3-pointer from deep in the corner to tie the game. After a defensive stop by the Wildcats, Lister drained another 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to give them a 54-51 lead.

Wellsboro’s game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out, and Manning’s tip-in at the buzzer provided the final margin.

Babcock led Athens with 16 points and three rebounds, while Lister had 14 points, nine rebonds, three steals, and two blocked shots, and Carling added 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists.

Brown had five points, four assists, and three steals in the win, while Stein had five points, four boards, and one blocked shot, and Reid had four points and three assists.

Keane scored 15 points and grabbed 11 boards, and Manning tallied 14 points and hauled down 13 rebounds to lead Wellsboro, while McClure had 13 points, and Callahan added 11 points.

Athens, now 2-2, returns to action Saturday when it hosts NEB. The JV game tips at 4 p.m.

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January 15, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens dropped a pair of decisions this week, including a double-overtime heartbreaker Friday night, in NTL junior varsity boys basketball action.

Wellsboro 36, Athens 33, 2 OTs

Wellsboro took the early lead in the second overtime, and Caden Smith made 5 off 6 free throws down the stretch to help the junior Green Hornets to a 36-33 win Friday night.

Carson Smith scored five points and Lucas Kraft added four points in the first half to help Athens to a 15-11 halftime lead.

Wellsboro outscored Athens, 13-9, in the second half, including a 4-2 edge in the third quarter, to force extra play.

Smith and Chris Mitchell led Athens with 10 points apiece, while Nick Guiles-Vought added seven, and Kraft chipped in with four.

Troy 56, Athens 28
At Troy, the host junior Trojans used a 14-4 second-quarter run to take control in a 56-28 win Wednesday night.

The first quarter was even with Carson Smith and Korey Miller knocking down 3-pointers to pace Athens in a 10-10 deadlock.

Troy took over and outscored Athens, 28-7, in the middle two quarters to take a 38-17 lead into the final eight minutes.

Smith led Athens with eight points, while Miller added seven points, and Davin Spencer chipped in with four points.

Athens returns to action Monday at Athens.

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January 14, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Coming off NTL championship seasons, both Athens swim teams return a host of District 4 qualifiers, and look to be very competitive in 2021.

“We have some solid swimmers on the boys and girls team — several district qualifiers, who are normally year-round swimmers,” said Athens boys coach Mark Keister.  

“We do have a couple of swimmers who were top-10 point-earners and district qualifiers that decided not to come out this season.  

“The remaining swimmers are getting a good amount of attention and working hard to catch up in this ‘short’ season,” added Keister.

The boys were 7-3 last season, and return seniors Lucas Aquilio, Zac Gowin, Mason Henderson, and Joe Toscano, who were all District 4 qualifiers, as well as juniors Reuven Gifeisman, and sophomores Chris DeForest and Ethan Denlinger — also District qualifiers.

The newcomers are senior Asher Ellis and freshman Joe Blood.

“Asher (Ellis) is a good athlete,” said Keister. “He’ll likely swim freestyle and breaststroke.”

The Lady Wildcats also return a slew of District qualifiers, led by sophomore Taegan Williams.

“(Taegan) broke the 500 free school-record at Districts,” said Keister. “She has the potential to break additional records this year.”

Also returning are seniors Kaitlin Kisner and Raven Gardner, sophomore Mea Abbott, Taylar Fisher, and Allison Thoman, and well as senior divers Emma Roe, who finished fourth at Districts, and Katie Lynch.

The Lady Wildcats also have a long list of newcomers, including sophomore Meltem VanHelder, and freshmen Macaria Benjamin, Grace Cobb, Rebecca Gifeisman, Emily Henderson,
Madelyn Jones, Isabella Potter and Emily Marshall.

“Our newcomers have good potential that may produce a couple district qualifiers,” Keister said.

Keister is also excited there will be a postseason.

“We got word recently that we will have secured a district championship meet site this year and plans for States,” he said.

“We will again compete at Bloomsburg for diving — boys and girls split morning and afternoon as normal — and Williamsport High School for swimming, but the boys and girls meet will be separate days.

“Another new thing is a virtual swim meet.  We will be able to compete with any team in the Commonwealth,” added Keister.

Athens opens the season today at Towanda.

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January 14, 2021 Tim Birney

TOWANDA — Virtual competition is upon us, and the Athens swim team got its first taste of it Thursday.

The Wildcats swam, along with Towanda in the Black Knight pool, while Shamokin swam in its own pool. Shamokin actually swam on Wednesday, but the times won’t be merged until Friday morning to produce the team scores and individual placements.

The following are the times and places in the Athens-Towanda meet:

Senior Mason Henderson and sophomore Chris DeForest won four events apiece, while seniors Joey Toscano and Zac Gowin, and sophomore Ethan Denlinger were each triple-winners to pace the Wildcats’ efforts.

Henderson and DeForest each swam on all three of Athens’ winning relays.

The duo teamed with Toscano and Denlinger to win the 200-yard medley really in a time of 2:21.98, then teamed with Toscano and Gowin to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in a time of 1:47.61. They teamed with Denlinger and Gowin to win the 400-yard freestyle in a time of 4:04.24.

Henderson won the 100-yard butterfly in a District-qualifying time of 1:07.46, while DeForest won the 100-yard freestyle in a District-qualifying times of 54.4 seconds, and Gowin placed third in 1:05.68.

Gowin won the 200-yard freestyle in a  time of 2:23.68, while Denlinger won the 200-yard IM in 2:36.42, and Toscano won the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 26.43 seconds.

Senior newcomer Asher Ellis posted his first varsity win in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:34.8, and senior Lucas Aquilio was third in 1:37.43.

Toscano finished second in the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:17.55, and freshman Joe Blood was third in 1:28.21.

Sophomores Taegan Williams and Taylar Fisher, and freshman Emily Marshall were triple-winners, and sophomore Ally Thoman was a double-winner to lead the Lady Wildcats.

Williams led a sweep in the 200-yard freestyle in a district-qualifying time of 2:16.1, while freshman Isabella Potter was second in 2:35.03, and freshman Grace Cobb was third in exhibition in 2:40.64.

Williams also won the 500-yard freestyle in a District-qualifying time of 6:05.13, and senior Kaitlin Kisner was second in 7:10.58.

Fisher led a sweep in the 200-yard IM in a District-qualifying time of 2:41.67, while freshman Malaria Benjamin was second in 3:31.66. Swimming in exhibition, Marshall clocked in at 2:58.72.

Fisher also won the 100-yard backstroke in a District-qualifying time of 1:13.93, and freshman Emily Henderson was third in 1:58.1.

Marshall won the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 1:28.57, and Benjamin was second in 1:40.40.

Thoman won the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:26.41, and senior Raven McCarthy-Gardner was second in 1:27.32.

Fisher, Thoman, Benjamin, and Marshall teamed to win the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 2:20.39, while Kisner, Marshall, Potter, and Williams teamed to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 4:42.13.

Senior Emma Roe won the 1-meter diving competition with 156.1 points, and McCarthy-Gardner was second with 109.45 points.

Thoman finished second in the 50-yard freestyle in 31.44 seconds, and Kisner was third in 31.77, while Potter finished second in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 1:08.35.

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January 13, 2021 Chris Manning

TROY — In a physical, foul-plagued game Athens came up short against Troy, dropping a 70-53 decision, in NTL Large School boys’ basketball action Wednesday.

The high profile match-up of the top two teams in the division a year ago was the Trojan season opener.

The Wildcats struggled the first three quarters to get anything going offensively as they had just 20 points at the half and 34 after three quarters.

However, their defense kept them in striking distance, down 47-34 with the final frame to go.

In the fourth, Athens’ offense got going, but so did Troy’s, and, after cutting it to a 9-point deficit with 5 minutes to go, the Wildcats hit a cold patch as they watched the Trojans pull away.

Athens was able to get Troy into the double-bonus in both halves, but also allowed Troy to nab several offensive rebounds and putbacks after they had gotten defensive stops.

Nalen Carling had the hot hand for the Wildcats, shooting 67 percent from the field and finishing with 15 points to go with six boards. J.J. Babcock added 14 points, four boards and three steals.

Troy Pritchard had six points and 11 boards, and Tucker Brown, Shayne Reid and Mason Lister had five points each. Carson Smith rounded out the scoring with three points.

Ethan VanNoy led Troy with 20 points while Athens kept Ty Barrett from going off, as he had just 17.

Jake Deitrick had 11 points, nine boards, three steals and two blocks, while Mason Imbt and Nick Williams had four points apiece. Imbt added four boards as Williams handed out four assists.

Devin Selleck finished with five points and six boards, while Owen Williams scored two. Morgan Madigan had one point to go with six rebounds.

Athens came out with a box-and-1 on Barrett, but Troy still took a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes, punctuated with a Barrett jumper.

Athens got on the scoreboard just before the halfway point of the first quarter on a Pritchard lay-up. A Deitrick lay-up off an assist from Imbt made it 9-2 Troy, then Babcock answered with a lay-up of his own.

After a Troy free throw, the two teams traded buckets as the Trojans went up 12-6. A pair of Reid freebies cut it to 12-8, but Barrett and VanNoy hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 18-8 Trojans. Carling had a putback at the end of the first quarter to cut it to 18-10.

The Wildcats came out strong in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to four points as Carling hit a jumper, followed by two free throws from Mason Lister.

A VanNoy driving lay-up extended the lead back to 20-14, but Carling hit two free throws to cut it to four points again.

An Imbt putback followed by another VanNoy 3-pointer extended the Troy lead to 25-16.

Athens, though, took advantage of Troy’s foul trouble as Pritchard went 2-for-2 from the line, followed by a Babcock lay-up, to cut it to 25-20.

VanNoy had the final answer of the half, hitting a driving lay-up for a 27-20 halftime lead.

Troy continued to extend the lead early in the third quarter as they went on a 8-2 run, punctuated by a Williams 3-pointer, to take a 35-22 lead.

Athens responded in kind, going on a 6-0 push themselves to make it 35-28 with five minutes left in the quarter.

That’s when Troy began to live at the line as they got the Wildcats in foul trouble. They would shoot 12 free throws in the third quarter, with their next five points all coming from the charity stripe.

With three minutes to play, Troy led 40-28 before Athens netted a freebie of their own to stop the bleeding.

A Deitrick putback, followed by a Madigan free throw, extended Troy’s lead to 43-29 with two minutes left in the quarter.

Athens, who had gotten Troy in foul trouble at this point, went 3-of-4 from the line after that to cut it to 43-32.

A Barrett jumper followed by another Trojan putback extended the lead to 47-32. Just as they looked to be running away with it, Babcock got to the line and hit both free throws to keep it a 13-point deficit with a quarter left.

A Carling old-fashioned 3-point play to lead off the fourth made it a 10-point game. Athens would cut it to nine points as Brown had a steal and lay-up.

Troy responded with a Williams free throw, followed by a Selleck lay-up to push the lead back to 51-39.

A Babcock lay-up off a Carling assist with six minutes left made it a 10-point game again, but Barrett answered with a jumper.

Carling came back with a putback seconds later, but a Williams-to-Barrett pass play ended with two more points to Troy.

Athens got their first 3-pointer of the game with five minutes to go as Brown hit a 3-ball to cut it to 55-46.

That’s as close as it got, though, as Troy rattled off a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 15.

Babcock cut it to 61-48 with a lay-up, but Troy out scored them 9-5 in the final 2:30 to seal the win.

The Wildcats fall to 1-2 on the year, but return home Saturday to host NEB in a 4 p.m. start.

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January 13, 2021 Tim Birney

BLOOMSBURG — Defending District 4 champion Bloomsburg jumped out to a big lead early, and rolled to a 59-29 win over Athens here Wednesday night in non-league girls basketball action.

“Bloomsburg is a very talented team,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “They were bigger and faster and played great team defense.

“It was good for us to get of our league and play a talented team like that,” noted Miller. “We won’t see a team that good unless we make it to the state tournament.

“We played hard and did some nice things against a very good team,” he added. “We will build off it learn and get better from it.”

Rylee Klinger scored 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and an old-fashioned three-point play, to fuel Bloomsburg’s 22-7 first-quarter blitz.

The Lady Panthers used a 15-5 second-quarter run to extend its lead to 37-12 at the half.

Senior Kayleigh Miller scored eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the first half for the Lady Wildcats.

Bloom subbed liberally in the second half, and outscored the Lady Wildcats, 22-17. Junior Caydence Macik and senior Megan Collins combined to score all 17 of Athens’ points.

Macik led Athens with 12 points, including 10 in the second half, three rebounds, and four blocked shots, while Miller had eight points and three steals, Collins scored seven points, and sophomore Karlee Bartlow grabbed four rebounds.

The Lady Wildcats committed 25 turnovers in the loss.

Klinger led Bloom with 22 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Madeline Evans scored 15 points, and Kelsey Widom added 10 points.

Athens, now 2-1, returns to action Saturday at Wellsboro in a noon start.

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January 13, 2021 Tim Birney

BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg raced out to a big lead early, an cruised to a big win over Athens here Wednesday night in non-league junior varsity girls basketball action.

Maize Aikey scored 12 points in the first quarter to fuel a 23-2 Bloomsburg blitz. Abby Champion scored Athens’ only bucket.

Braelynn Wood scored four points in the second quarter, and Karlee Bartlow added a pair of free throws, but Bloom used a 17-6 run to stretch the halftime advantage to 40-8.

The junior Panthers outscored Athens, 22-0, in the second half for a 62-8 win.

Wood led Athens with four points, and Mya Thompson had four rebounds, while Aikey led four Bloom scorers in double-figures with 17 points.

Athens, now 1-2, returns to action Saturday at Wellsboro.

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January 12, 2021 Chris Manning

CANTON — Athens went into Canton not knowing exactly what to expect, with only a week of practice, but, despite coming out on the short end of the match, 40-22, Wildcat coach Shawn Bradley felt good about what he saw Tuesday.

“The kids wrestled well,” said Bradley. “It’s a tough one to start out with ... start out with Canton. The kids were in the match.”

The defending NTL champion Warriors showed why they were the favorites coming into the season, but Athens made them work for a it.

They lost 3-point decisions at 160 and 132, while in the first match of the day, 120 pounds, Athens freshman Josh Courtney was leading in the third period, when he got turned and pinned by Canton’s Miah Lehman, a 9-point swing.

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January 12, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS —   Longtime Athens wrestling coach Shawn Bradley says the Wildcats will be a mix of experienced grapplers and newcomers in 2021.

“We had some guys not come out that we were expecting to be here, but we have some studs back, and some promising young kids,” he said.

Two-time PIAA place-finisher Gavin Bradley, who was 40-4 and finished seventh in the state, is the headline wrestler returning for the Wildcats.

“Gavin (Bradley) is back. He worked his butt off again this summer, and works hard in here every day,” said Shawn Bradley. “He didn’t get the 80 matches he wrestled last offseason, but he still food a way to get his work in.”

Also returning are Kaden Setzer (21-9), Jake Courtney (13-9), Zach Stafursky (20-20), and Karter Rude (19-11).

“Jake Courtney and Kaden Setzer, who have both worked their tails off, are back,” said Bradley.

“Zach (Stafursky) had a little knee injury in the spring, but he’s healthy and he’s back for us,” noted Bradley. “He’s our lone senior.

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January 11, 2021 Tim Birney

MOUNT CARMEL — Mount Carmel limited Athens to just 15 points, and built a 13-point halftime lead en route to a 61-40 win here Monday night in non-league boys basketball action.

“It’s a simple formula — play defense, make lay-ups, make foul shots, and win basketball games,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “We did none of the above tonight.

“Plus, we played their game in the first half and scored 15 points,” he added. “Hopefully, this is a nice wake-up call for us. We learn from it, fix it and move on.”

Mount Carmel led 10-8 after the first eight minutes, then took control with an 18-7 run in the second quarter to take a 28-15 lead at the intermission.

Sophomore Mason Lister scored nine points in the second quarter as the Wildcats outscored MC, 16-14, but the Red Tornadoes closed out the game with a 19-9 run in the final eight minutes.

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January 11, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — After a back-and-fourth four quarters of action, Athens scored the first seven points in overtime to pull out a 58-53 win over Northeast Bradford here Monday night in NTL girls basketball action.

The Lady Wildcats improve to 2-0 with the win, and coach Brian Miller said Saturday’s game paid dividends Monday night.

“It was nice to have a game under our belt,” he said. “I needed it as a coach to see how some of my younger girls — meaning Emma (Bronson) and Karlee (Bartlow) — would react at the varsity level.

“As the game went on, you see their confidence level grow, and you could see them feel their way into the game.

“We held Lauryn Jones to three points, which is a great accomplishment, and that was mostly Karlee and Emma,” added Miller.

Junior Maisie Neuber picked up the slack for Jones, scoring 30 points and hauling down 11 rebounds.

“Next time, we have to do a better job on (Maisie) Neuber, she had a great game,” said Miller. “She was good last year … she has turned into an elite player.”

Opening the season at Athens was a tough chore, noted Beebe.

“I feel awesome about how our girls played. They never gave up,” said Beebe. “Coming into this gym on the first night of the season … with just five practices and you draw Athens, that’s tough.

“I couldn’t ask for anything else, well a win, I guess,” laughed Beebe, “The girls played great.”

Athens led by as many as five points three times in the first half, but Northeast fought back to take the lead each time.

Conversely, the Lady Panthers built a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Athens rallied to take the lead before the game went into overtime.

“We’ve played Northeast three times since the start of last season, and two of the three have gone to overtime,” said Miller.

“It was a game of momentum. We’d take a five-point lead, and they’d come back to tie it. They would take a five-point lead, and we came back to tie it.

“It shows you what type of teams both of us have,” noted Miller. “We can get our backs against the wall, settle in, and battle back.”

“It’s a great win,” added Miller. “I told the girls (Northeast) is the best team by far (in the Small School Division), maybe the best team in the league, along with Towanda, if you take us out of the equation, so that’s a good win.”

NEB coach Ben Beebe expressed similar sentiments.

“One thing I love about playing one of Brian Miller’s team, is that it’s always good basketball,” said Beebe. “Both teams went on runs, and both teams answered.

“Both teams played good defense, you can’t really ask for a better game,” he noted.

“Tough games like this make you better,” Beebe added. “I’ll take a game like this any day of the week. I can’t wait to play Athens again in a month.”

Miller, who canned four 3-pointers, paced Athens with 25 points, including a 7-for-7 effort from the free-throw line. four steals, and four assists. She scored 17 points, including all seven free throws, in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Macik added 12 points, 10 rebounds, five blocked shots, and three assists in the win, while Stephens had seven points, seven rebounds, and three steals, Bartlow added six points and three steals, and Collins chipped in with five points and three assists.

Alena Beebe banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key to open the scoring and Neuber added a pair of buckets, sandwiched around scores by Macik, to give the Lady Panthers a 7-4 lead.

Stephens then scored back-to-back buckets — the first off a nifty high-low assist from Macik, and the second on a fast-break assist from Miller — to trigger an 8-0 spurt that put the Lady Wildcats up 12-7.

Neuber scored five straight points on a long two-point jumper and a 3-pointer to tie the game at 12-12 with 1:02 remaining in the first quarter.

Macik banked in a runner with 6 seconds remaining to give Athens a 14-12 lead after the first eight minutes.

NEB scored the first five points of the second quarter, but Miller and Collins knocked down consecutive three-pointers, and Macik added a bucket on a textbook screen-and-roll assist from Miller in an 8-0 spurt that put the Lady Wildcats up 22-17 with 1:20 remaining in the first half.

Neuber scored with 2 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the NEB halftime deficit to 24-21.

Beebe, Kayleigh Thoman, and Neuber scored consecutive buckets to open the second half, giving NEB a 27-24 lead with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

After the teams traded buckets, Collins canned a 15-foot jumper, and Miller drained a 3-pointer to give Athens a 31-29 lead with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Neuber made four straight free throws to give NEB a 33-31 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter, but a free throw by Bartlow cut the Athens deficit to one point heading into the final eight minutes.
Jones drained a long 3-pointer on NEB’s first possession of the fourth quarter, and moments later Neuber gave the Lady Panthers their biggest lead of the game — at 38-32 — after turning a steal into a fast-break lay-up with 7:25 left in regulation.

Athens answered with six straight points — the last five coming on a pair of free throws and an old-fashioned three-point play by Miller — to tie the game at 38-38 with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter.

The teams traded points until Beebe drained a 3-pointer with 3:01 remaining in the fourth quarter to give NEB a 45-42 lead.

After a free throw by Macik, Miller banked in a 3-pointer with 2:12 left in regulation to give the Lady Wildcats a 46-45 lead.

Neuber, off a feed from Thoman, gave NEB its final lead of the game, at 47-46, with 59 seconds left in regulation.

Athens’ ensuing possession nearly ended in disaster when a low-post entry pass intended for Macik went off her hands. As she fell out-of-bounds, she deftly batted the ball back in-bounds, where Miller fielded it cleanly near the top of the key, and buried a 3-pointer to give Athens a 49-47 lead with 38 seconds remaining.

After Neuber tied the game with a shot from the low block, Miller’s potential game-winner was blocked with 5 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.

Neither team was able to score on its first two possessions in overtime, but Bartlow put Athens ahead with a free throw, following her steal in the paint under the NEB bucket and subsequent coast-to-coast drive.

Following another NEB turnover, Miller drove baseline for a lay-up with 1:47 remaining in overtime to make it 52-49.

After a defensive stop, Athens made six of eight free throws, including three by sophomore Emma Bronson, to seal the win.

Miller was pleased with the contributions of every player that stepped on the floor.

“After Kayleigh banked in the three, Karlee had a nice drive for a basket, and Emma made three out of four free throws in overtime,” he said. “We had girls get some big rebounds and loose balls down the stretch.

“It’s a team game,” Miller added. “We’re more than just two girls, we have to play five girls on the floor — they all have to rebounds, they all have to communicate and play defense, and we did that tonight.”

Neuber added 11 rebounds to go along with her 30 points for the Lady Panthers, while Thoman and Beebe, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, scored eight points apiece, and Kate O’Connor added four points.

Athens returns to action Wednesday at Bloomsburg.

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