By: Tim Birney | | January 6, 2022 | Photo courtesy David Alliger


ATHENS — Athens shook off a rough first half, and a poor shooting night at the free-throw line to post a 70-60 win over Towanda here Thursday night in NTL Large School Division boys basketball action.

“Offensively, we were not as crisp as I would have liked in the first half and we missed a ton of foul shots tonight,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “I will never be happy about that.

“We made some halftime adjustments and came out and played a much better second half and got the win,” he added.

Lister also heaped praise on first-year Towanda coach Landon Henry.

“First, I want to give a ton of credit to Coach Landon Henry,” said Lister. “He is young and has ton of energy and his kids are buying in.

“They are going to beat some teams this season on just effort and hard work,” added Lister.

Athens senior guard Tucker Brown scored the first seven points of the game, but Towanda used an 18-4 blitz to take an 18-11 with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter.

Senior J.J. Babcock scored five straight points, and senior Nalen Carling made a free throw in the final seconds of the opening stanza to draw within 18-17 at the end of the opening stanza.

Brown made one of two free throws early in the second quarter to tie the game at 18-18, and Carling made one of two free throws with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half to give Athens the lead for good, at 22-21.

Athens made 20 of 41 free-throw attempts in the game.

Buckets by Brown and junior Chris Mitchell made it 26-21, and a pair of free throws by junior Chris Mitchell with 55 seconds remaining in the half gave the Wildcats a 30-25 lead.

Athens pushed its lead to six points, at 34-28, in the opening moments of the second half on a bucket by Brown, but the Black Knights used a 6-1 spurt to close the gap to 35-34.

Carling, off an assist from junior Mason Lister, scored to spark a 6-0 spurt that pushed the Athens lead to 41-34.

A technical foul against Towanda with 2 minutes left in the third quarter resulted in a free throw by Brown, and two more by Babcock to push the lead to 45-36.

The Black Knights then used a 7-0 spurt to close the gap to 45-43 with 7:10 remaining in the game, but that was as close as they would get.

Lister, off a feed from Carling, and Pritchard, off an assist from Lister, scored back-to-back buckets to spark a 10-2 run that put the Wildcats up 55-45 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the game.

After a bucket by Towanda’s Logan Lambert made it 55-47, Athens scored 10 straight points to take a 65-47 lead with 2:15 left in the game.

The Black Knights closed the gap to 67-60 in the final minutes, but the Wildcats mad three of six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Brown led Athens with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals, while Pritchard had 13 points and six rebounds, Carling had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals, and Babcock had nine points, six boards, and one blocked shot.

Lister added eight points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in the win, and Mitchell had eight points and five boards.

Dante Ottaviano led Towanda with 29 points, including 13 points in the first quarter, and seven 3-pointers, while Logan Lambert and Justin Schoonover added nine points apiece.

Athens, now 7-2, returns to action Wednesday at North Penn-Mansfield.

About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio
Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder / owner of River Road Media Group. He was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Waverly High School in 1984.

Birney earned an Associate's Degree in Journalism from SUNY Morrisville in 1986 and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism / Public Relations from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1988. He began his newspaper career at The Daily Review in Towanda in 1989, before moving on to The Evening Times in 1995. He spent more than 10 years at the Times, the last four as Managing Editor.

River Road Media Group includes five sites in "The Sports Reports" family that cover 24 school districts in five counties: Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020); Northern Tier West Sports Report (March 15, 2021) Southern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 16, 2021).