ATHENS RACKS UP THREE WINS IN FOUR DAYS OVER DIVISIONAL RIVALS

ATHENS RACKS UP THREE WINS IN FOUR DAYS OVER DIVISIONAL RIVALS

February 14, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens earned three wins in four nights over NTL Large School Divisional opponents, including a victory over Troy to avenge a loss earlier this season, to improve to 18-3 on the season.

Athens 41, Towanda 28
At Towanda, Athens gradually pulled away for a 41-28 win over Towanda Monday night.

Kolsen Keathley scored four points in the first quarter to help the junior Wildcats to an 11-7 lead after the first seven minutes.

Troy Rosenbloom scored six points in the second quarter, and Keathley added an old-fashioned three-point play in an 11-7 run that pushed the Athens lead to 19-14 at the half.

Jase Babcock and Korey Miller scored four points apiece in the third quarter as Athens outscored Towanda, 12-8, to take a 31-22 lead into the final seven minutes.

Xavier Watson and Keathley scored four points apiece in the fourth quarter as Athens added to its lead with a 10-6 spurt.

Keathley led Athens with 11 points and six rebounds, while Rosenbloom had eight points, two assists, and two steals, and Watson had eight points, five boards, two steals, and one blocked shot.

Miller had four points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the win, while Jack Cheresnowsky had four points, three rebounds, and one blocked shot, Jase Babcock chipped in with four points, Davin Spencer had three rebounds and two steals, and Peter Jones grabbed three boards.

Athens 61, Troy 51
At Troy, Athens rallied from seven points down at the half to pull out a 61-51 win over Troy at the Commons Building Saturday.

Korey Miller buried a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter, while Xavier Watson also had six points, and Troy Rosenbloom added four points to help Athens to an 18-6 lead after the first seven minutes.

Troy outscored Athens, 18-9 in the second quarter to take a 34-27 lead into the half, but the Wildcats answered with a strong third quarter.

Kolsen Keathley scored nine points to fuel a 13-2 third-quarter blitz that gave Athens a 40-36 lead heading into the final seven minutes.

Watson scored eight points in the fourth quarter, and Miller added six points, including four free throws, as Athens made 7 of 10 free throws down the stretch to preserve the win in a 21-15 fourth-quarter run.

Watson scored 17 points and Miller had 16 points, three rebounds, six assists, and four steals to lead Athens, while Keathley had 13 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Rosenbloom had six points and two assists in the win, while Jase Babcock had four points and two assists, Jack Cheresnowsky grabbed three rebounds, and Conner Mosher dished out three assists.

Athens 40, Wellsboro 23

At Athens, the junior Wildcats used a 12-2 second quarter blitz to build an 11-point halftime lead on its way to a 40-23 win over Wellsboro Friday.

Matt Aquilio buried a 3-pointer in the first quarter, and three of his teammates put their name in the scoring column to help Athens to a 9-8 lead after the first seven minutes.

Korey Miller canned a 3-pointer, and Kolsen Keathley converted an old-fashioned three-point play as Athens extended its lead to 21-10 at the half.

Keathley scored six points in the third quarter, and Xavier Watson finished off a three-point play as Athens used a 15-11 advantage to take a 36-21 lead into the final seven minutes.

Keathley led Athens with 11 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and three blocked shots, while Watson scored seven points, and Miller had five points, three rebounds, three assists, seven steals, and one blocked shot.

Aquilio scored five points for the Wildcats, while Connor Mosher had four points, four boards, and one blocked shot, Jack Cheresnowsky had four points and three rebounds, and Troy Rosenbloom added three rebounds.

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ATHENS COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN 70-64 SETBACK AT TROY

ATHENS COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN 70-64 SETBACK AT TROY

February 12, 2022 Chris Manning

TROY — Athens came within a rimmed out lay-up of possibly taking hold of the NTL Large School title chase, but ultimately ran out of gas as it fell to Troy, 70-64, in boys basketball action here Saturday at the Commons Building.

The Wildcats, who trailed for most of the game, rallied from 14 down in the third, to a 2-point deficit with a little more than a minute to go when that shot rolled out. In the final 67 seconds, the Trojans used the free throw line to out score Athens, 6-1, to preserve the win, and clinch their second straight division championship.

“First, I want to say I’m going to give Coach Renzi and Troy all the credit in the world,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “They really played hard tonight, they won the game.

“I’m very proud of my kids. This was a hell of a gauntlet we had to go through here, (NP-Mansfield) Wednesday night, Wellsboro last night) and to come here and play Troy tonight, we were asking a lot of our kids, and they never quit,” noted Lister. “They came back, and they showed me a lot of heart tonight, and I’m extremely proud of them.”

The Wildcats rolled past NP-Mansfield mid-week, but had to hold off Wellsboro on Friday before facing the league leading Trojans.

“I thought our legs were a little tired in the first half,” said Lister. “I think that’s why they got a good lead on us. But, just my kids, man, they got a ton of heart, they fought back.”

Babcock certainly put it all out on the court as he had one of the best games of his career with 30 points, eight boards, four assists, four steals, and three blocked shots. In the first half, he helped carry the load with nine points in the opening quarter to keep Troy from getting too far out in front, then scored 13 in the final frame during Athens’ rally.

“I’m thrilled with JJ, and his effort tonight,” Lister remarked. “I mean, he just wanted to take over the game, he wanted to win.”

Mason Lister added 15 points, and five boards, as he was money with his mix of baseline jumpers and runners.

Nalen Carling scrapped for 10 points, and six rebounds, while Tucker Brown had four points, and four assists, Troy Pritchard finished with three points, and Kolsen Keathley added two points, four boards, and some tough defense on Troy’s Ty Barrett.

“I’m going to give a big shout out to my freshman Kolsen Keathley,” said Lister. “He came in in that quarter and he busted his tail, and he worked hard, and he got us back in that game.”

Mason Imbt led Troy with 24 points, while Barrett finished with 23. Zeb Oldroyd netted eight, Justice Chimics scored seven, Jackson Taylor and Ethan VanNoy had three points apiece, while Colin Loveland rounded things out with two.

Barrett came out of the gates on fire, hitting back-to-back 3-balls in Troy’s first two possessions to put the Trojans up 6-0. Their lead would get to 8-0 on an Imbt lay-up from a VanNoy pass, but a Lister jumper stopped that run.

Imbt would make it 10-2 with another lay-up at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter, but the Wildcats came back with jumpers from Babcock and Lister.

Imbt’s third bucket of the game made it 12-6, but after that the Wildcats went on a 9-2 run to take a 15-14 lead. Babcock scored seven of the night points, while Lister had a lay-up.

However, Barrett’s third 3-pointer of the quarter with 16 seconds on the clock would put the Trojans back up 17-15.

Troy came out strong in the second, with getting back to back lay-ups from Barrett and Imbt to take a 21-15 lead in the first minute.

Another Babcock ‘And-1’ cut it to 21-18, followed by the two teams trading bucket to make it 23-20 at the 4:49 mark.

The back-and-forth continued for the next three minutes, as both teams had five points apiece, until Lister hit a baseline jumper at the minute mark to cut it to 28-27.

Oldroyd would answer with a 3-ball, followed by a Barrett dump off to Imbt down low that put the Trojans back up 33-27 with 21 seconds left to play.

Pritchard would get a lay-up with a 6.6 seconds for a 33-29 halftime score.

Troy came out of the half like a shot, beginning with buckets from Imbt and Barrett to take a 37-29 lead.

A Carling jumper cut it to 37-31, but Oldroyd answered with a 3-ball to go up 40-31.

Babcock would get another old fashioned 3-point play, but the Trojans followed with a 6-0 run — Barrett had a lay-up, Oldroyd finished a put back, and Chimics scored on a transition lay-up – to build their biggest lead yet, 46-34.

A Babcock steal and lay-up at the 2:52 mark made it a 10-point game, but two more Trojans baskets — one from Chimics, the other from Imbt, and both off Barrett assists — gave the Trojans a 50-36 advantage with 2:00 left in the third.

Athens answered with a 4-0 spurt as Babcock found Lister for a lay-up, and Brown had a steal and bucket.

Then, with 1:18 left on the clock, Barrett found Imbt for a lay-up, plus the foul, to make it 53-40.

Babcock would continue to make plays for his team, though, as he found Brown for a bucket, then had another steal and lay-up, to cut it to 53-44.

The final basket of the quarter belonged to Barrett, though, as he hit a runner to make it a 55-44 Trojan lead going into the final frame.

“You know, when we were up going into the fourth, I said to the guys, this ain’t over,” said Troy coach Steve Renzi. “Athens was a champion two years ago, they know. They know what they got to do to comeback, and they did.”

It began on the defensive end for the Wildcats, as they held Troy scoreless for nearly four minutes to start the fourth. That allowed them to chip away, going on an 9-0 run, with seven of them from Babcock, to cut it to 55-53.

A pair of Imbt free throws extended the lead back to four points, but a Babcock driving lay-up made it a 2-point game again.

Barrett answered with a driving lay-up of his own with 3:57 on the clock for a 59-55 lead.

Athens would get a turnover on their next possession, with Chimics getting fouled and going to the line for a 1-and-1. He made the first, but missed the second, giving the Trojans a little more breathing room at 60-55 with 3:15 left.

The Wildcats would have another turnover, but Troy missed at the other end.

It was Keathley cutting it to 60-57 for the Wildcats with a lay-up at the 2:41 mark.

Troy, though, would get a big 3-ball from VanNoy — nothing but net — off an Imbt assist to push their lead to 63-57.

Lister, though, was able to erase that with a lay-up plus the foul, making the freebie for a 63-60 score with just over two minute to play.

Taylor would get fouled at the other end, making both, to once again push the lead to four points.
The two teams would then trade misses, followed by Babcock getting his seventh And-1 of the game, making the free throw to cut it to 65-63 with 1:46 left.

After getting the ball back, Athens had a good look at a lay-up, but that’s when it rolled out.

Barrett ended up with the ball, and at the free throw line, making both, to push it to 67-63 with 1:07 left to play.

Babcock would get to the free throw line at the other, making 1-of-2, to cut it to 67-64 with 43.5 left to play.

Those would be the final points Athens would score, though, as their final three possessions ended with two turnovers, and a miss.

Troy would go 3 of 6 down the stretch — Imbt himself was 2-for-4 — to secure the win.

“We were a lay-up away from tying this game up with a minute left,” Lister said. “It was a fantastic basketball game in front of a packed house. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. We just came up on the short end of it.”

The Wildcats have two league games left, beginning with a trip to Towanda on Monday, and, if they win out, will be in the NTL Showdown where they could meet Troy for the third time this season.

“We have a lot of basketball left,” Lister remarked. “And we will be back. I promise you that.”

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CARLING, DEFENSE PACE ATHENS IN 48-40 WIN OVER WELLSBORO; BABCOCK NETS 1,000TH CAREER POINT

CARLING, DEFENSE PACE ATHENS IN 48-40 WIN OVER WELLSBORO; BABCOCK NETS 1,000TH CAREER POINT

February 11, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Senior Nalen Carling fueled a strong first half, and his classmate J.J. Babcock netted his 1,000th career point in Athens’ 48-40 win over Wellsboro here Friday night in NTL Large School Division boys basketball action.

However, Athens coach Jim Lister said it was his team’s defense, employing 1-3-1 half-court pressure, that was the difference.

“Defensively, I thought we played awesome in the first half,” he said. “We only gave up 15 points to a very good Wellsboro team … if we continue to play defense like that, we should be OK.

“I went back over the last 48 hours and I watched our game (at Wellsboro) three times,” noted Lister. “I realized (Wellsboro’s) guards are very good shooters, but I thought we could put some more pressure on them, which we did not do the first game, and make it a little more difficult for them.

“Our length and athleticism created a lot of problems for them,” added Lister. “I don’t think they saw that coming.”

The 6-3 Carling, matched up against a 5-10 defender, scored 10 points in the first quarter, including a pair of feee throws that gave Athens the lead for good at 6-4.

“We didn’t have Nalen (Carling) at Wellsboro, he was very ill and did not make the trip,” said Lister.

“Watching film and looking at the match-ups … I thought we’d have a size advantage with Nalen,” added Lister. “I thought Nalen would be the x-factor, and dominate in the paint, and that’s exactly what he did.”

After a 3-pointer by Wellsboro’s Connor Adams closed the gap to 8-7, Lister drained a long 3-pointer from the right wing to trigger a 13-1 run that put the Wildcats ahead 21-8 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half.

Carling and Lister scored buckets to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the first half, at 27-13, with 40 seconds remaining in the half, but Liam Manning scored on a putback at the buzzer to make it 27-15.

Peyton McClure, who scored a game-high 21 points on seven 3-pointers in the first Athens-Wellsboro game, canned his second 3-pointer of the game to close the gap to 29-20 with 5:29 remaining in the third quarter. McClure finished the game with two 3-pointers and eight points.

“We had Mason (Lister) on (Peyton McClure) in the second half, and his job was to make sure he didn’t hurt us,” said Lister. “We did a good job on him.”

Adams knocked down a jumper in the lane to make it 29-22 with 5:16 remaining, but senior Troy Pritchard and Babcock scored in the low blocks to make it 33-22 with 3:08 remaining.

The teams traded buckets, with Liam Manning scoring in the post with 50 seconds left to close the gap to 35-26 heading into the final eight minutes.

Carling scored on a nice drive down the lane with 6:25 remaining, but Adams drained a 3-pointer just 10 seconds later to make it 37-29.

Drew Manning scored on the offensive boards midway through the final stanza to make it 39-33. After a defensive stop, the Hornets had a chance to cut deeper into the Athens lead, but Babcock came up with a steal and coast-to-coast drive for an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 42-33 with 3:22 remaining.

Babcock made 2 of 5 free-throw attempts over the next two minutes, but the Wildcats kept Wellsboro off the board.

With Athens up 44-33 with 1:15 remaining in the contest, Adams drained a pair of 3-pointers in a 17-second span to close the gap to 44-39.

“That was probably my mistake,” said Lister of Adams’ consecutive 3-pointers. “I switched us into man-to-man, and I probably should have stayed with the half-court press a little longer because (Wellsboro) was struggling to get the ball up the court.

“We stayed in man, and we packed it too deep,” noted Lister. “We let (Adams) get to the top-of-the-key, and he hurt us.”

“We called timeout, and fixed that real fast,” added Lister. “Then, they had no choice, but to foul us.”

The Wildcats, who made just 8 of 19 free throws in the game, made 3 of 6 free throws, including Babcock knocking down one from the charity stripe with 20 seconds remaining in the game for his milestone point.

“We didn’t shoot fouls shots very well tonight,” said Lister. “If there’s one thing that bothered me tonight, it was our foul shooting. We can’t do that (Saturday) night at Troy, we have to make those shots.

“We’ll spend some time on the foul line (Saturday) before we go to Troy, I guarantee you that,” Lister added.

Lister also lauded Babcock for his 1,000th point.

“He’s turned into a complete player … for him, it wasn’t about the 1,000th, it was about the win,” he said. “To get both tonight, I’m so happy for him.

“I’ve been coaching J.J. since the third-grade, so I’ve watched him grow and develop over the years.

“Does it help that he’s 6-foot-6? Yes,” said Lister. “But, it’s the other parts of the game that make him the player he is … he has an incredible basketball IQ, and he has the frame to go with it.

“It’s an awesome accomplishment. I’m very happy for him,” he added.

Carling led Athens with 19 points and four rebounds, while Babcock had 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three blocked shots, and senior Tucker Brown added five points and six rebounds.

Pritchard chipped in with four points and six rebounds in the win, and junior Mason Lister had five points, three boards, three assists, three steals, and one blocked shot.

Adams led Wellsboro with 14 points and four 3-pointers, and Liam Manning added eight points.

With the win, Athens remains 1 game behind Troy in the Large School standings. The Wildcats travel to Troy Saturday night.

“We’ve been taking it one game at a time,” said Lister. “If we get through the Troy game (Saturday), we still have to go to Towanda Monday, and we still have to go to Williamson Wednesday night.

“We just have to keep our foot on the gas, and keep going.

“Troy is a big one tomorrow night, I’m sure that’s going to be a packed house,” added Lister. “We have to bring it, and be ready.”

Lister continues to be impressed with the support his teams has received from the student body.

“A huge shout-out to the student section, they were awesome again tonight,” he said. “The school spirit is incredible, and I hope they all come to Troy (Saturday) night.”

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ATHENS POSTS CONVINCING WINS OVER TOWANDA ON SENIOR NIGHT

ATHENS POSTS CONVINCING WINS OVER TOWANDA ON SENIOR NIGHT

February 10, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — The Athens boys and girls rolled to big wins over Towanda on Senior Night here Thursday in NTL swimming & diving action.

Senior Reuven Gifeisman won four events to lead the Athens boys to a 115-41 wi over the Black Knights, while senior Brooke Kopatz was a triple-winner to help the Lady Wildcats to a 115-35 win.

BOYS
Athens 115, Towanda 41

Like Gifeisman, junior Chris DeForest won four events, while junior Ethan Denlinger and freshman Ethan Hicks was a triple-winner as the Wildcats close the season with a 6-1 record.

"I am really impressed with all our first-year swimmers and how all our kids have shown improvement this season,” said Athens coach Mark Keister.

Gifeisman led a sweep in the 100-yard freestyle, clocking in at 1:02.65, while junior Joe Blood was second in 1:08.52, and freshman Aiden Oldroyd was third in 1:14.86.

DeForest won the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:56.1, and Blood was third in 2:29.51.

DeForest also won the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 23.61, and freshman Ronel Ankam was second in 25.86 seconds.

Gifeisman and DeForest teamed with Hicks and Blood to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 4:07.84.

Gifeisman, DeForest and Denlinger teamed with Ankam to win the 200-yard free relay in a time of 1:44.54

Gifeisman and Hicks teamed with freshmen Ryan Gorman, and Josh Leonard to win the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 2:04.38

Denlinger won the 200-yard IM in a time of 2:24.23, and Hicks won the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 5:40.32.

Ankam won the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:16.29, and Leonard won the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 1:10.96.

Freshman Treyvon Simpson won the 1-meter diving competition with 143.25 points, and freshman Carter Lewis was second with 120 points.

Denlinger was second in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:19.56, and Gorman was third in 1:28.28.

GIRLS
Athens 115, Towanda 35

Juniors Taegan Williams and Taylar Fisher won four events, while sophomore Emily Marshall joined Kopatz as a triple-winner in Athens’ 115-35 win over Towanda.

“The kids are really hitting their times at the right time of the season to qualify for the post-season,” said Athens coach Shauntel Place. “I am so happy with all our swimmers today."

Williams won the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:08.8, and sophomore Grace Cobb was second in 2:23.42. Williams also won the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 5:55.95, and Cobb was second in 6:32.85.

Fisher won the 200-yard IM in 2:32.47, edging Kopatz (2:32.9) by less than a half-second. Fisher also won the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:11.73, and Marshall was second in 1:18.15.

Williams and Fisher teamed with Marshall and Kopatz to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in a time of 1:53.35.

Williams and Fisher teamed with Kopatz and Cobb to win the 400-yard free relay in a time of 4:28.51.

Kopatz led a sweep in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:13.42, while junior Alli Thoman was second in 1:24.19, and sophomore Emily Henderson was third in 1:42.62.

Marshall won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:19.5, edging out Macaria Benjamin, who was second in 1:19.93.

Marshall, Thoman, Benjamin, and freshman Elizabeth Talada teamed to win the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 2:20.13.

Senior Hannah Walker was second in the 100-yard freestyle in a personal-best time of 1:11.71

Thoman finished third in the 50-yard freestyle in 31.37 seconds

“We are looking to have an all-NTL last chance meet next week to give swimmers and divers one more time to improve their swims and possibly qualify for post-season competition,” said Keister.

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ATHENS ROLLS TO 45-24 WIN OVER NP-MANSFIELD

ATHENS ROLLS TO 45-24 WIN OVER NP-MANSFIELD

February 10, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens used balanced scoring to pull away from North Penn-Mansfield for a 45-24 win here Wednesday night in NTL junior varsity boys basketball action.

Four different Wildcats put their names in the scoring column in the first quarter, helping them to a 9-8 win.

Six Wildcats scored in the second quarter, including Nicholas Jacob and Korey Miller who connected on 3-pointers, in a 15-5 run that extended the Athens lead to 24-13 at the half.

Peter Jones and Xavier Watson scored four points apiece in the third quarter in a 13-6 run that pushed the lead to 37-19 entering the final seven minutes.

Ten different Wildcats scored in the win, led by Watson and Kolsen Keathley, who had nine and eight points, respectively

Jase Babcock had seven points and three rebounds in the win, while Jack Cheresnowsky had four points and four rebounds, Miller had four points, rebounds, four assists, and one blocked shot, Jones had four points and five rebounds, and Troy Rosenbloom had four rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot.

Athens returns to action Friday when it hosts Wellsboro.


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 DEFENSE, MACIK LIFT ATHENS TO 45-26 WIN OVER TROY

DEFENSE, MACIK LIFT ATHENS TO 45-26 WIN OVER TROY

February 10, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens dished out a large dose of senior Caydence Macik, and an even bigger dose of defense in a 45-26 win over Troy here Thursday night in NTL Large School girls basketball action.

“I really love to coach defense, and we have a philosophy,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “We all believe in it, and the girls really played to that philosophy tonight.

“We wanted to limit them driving the ball to the basket, because they are more of a driving, slashing team,” noted Miller. “We made sure we were outside on their shooters, and we did a nice job fronting the post because they love to enter the ball into the post.

“That might have been our best defensive performance of the year as a team,” added Miller. “To hold that team to 25 points … even the shots they made were highly-contested.”

The win also avenges a 35-28 loss at Troy earlier this season. In that loss, the Lady Wildcats played without junior Karlee Bartlow.

“Having Karlee (Bartlow) was the huge difference,” said Miller. “She’s one of our better guards and scorers and has experience; that was a huge difference.

“We also executed offensively against their zone, and then against their man-to-man,” he added. “And, we scored in transition.“

Macik scored 15 points in the first quarter to help Athens to a 17-9 lead after the first eight minutes.

“We got the ball Caydence a lot, especially early on, and she finished,” said Miller. “She had a really good offensive night.”

Athens stretched its lead to nine points, at 22-13, on a 3-pointer by Addy Wheeler with 2:10 remaining in the first half.

Karlee Bartlow scored on a driving lay-up early in the opening minute of the second half, and Macik scored off a steal under the bucket to give the Lady Wildcats a 27-15 lead with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter.

A jumper by Troy’s Katie Lackey with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter trimmed the deficit to 30-21, but Athens closed the quarter with a 6-2 spurt — on a jumper by Macik, and back-to-back driving lay-ups by Karlee Bartlow — to take a 36-23 lead into the final eight minutes.

Sophomore Mya Thompson scored four points, and Macik converted an old-fashioned three-point play as the Wildcats used a 9-2 spurt to take its biggest lead of the game, at 45-25, in the final minute of the game.

Macik led Athens with 28 points, six rebounds and one blocked shot, while Karlee Bartlow had eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one blocked shot, and Wheeler added five points, seven rebounds, and two assists.

Thompson chipped in with four points and one blocked shot in the win, while senior Olivia Bartlow grabbed five rebounds and blocked four shots, and junior Emma Bronson contributed five rebounds, three assists, and six steals.

Lackey led Troy with 12 points and six rebounds.

Athens, now 15-5, moves into a tie with Troy for second place in the Large School Division, but currently holds the third tie-breaker, which is power points.

Athens closes out the regular season Monday when it hosts North Penn-Mansfield, while Troy plays at division champion Towanda.

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ATHENS' PRESSURE TOO MUCH FOR NP-M IN 63-25 ROMP

ATHENS' PRESSURE TOO MUCH FOR NP-M IN 63-25 ROMP

February 9, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Fueled by its full-court pressure, Athens used a 28-2 run in a 12-minute span that extended from the first to the third quarters on its way to a 63-25 win over North Penn-Mansfield here Wednesday night in NTL Large School Division boys basketball action.

“We came out in our 1-3-1 just to get the boys warmed up,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “We switched to the full-court press, and played some of our best defense of the season.

“We forced turnovers, and turned them into a boatload of points in transition,” noted Lister.

Lister was especially pleased with his team’s performance considering it had been off since Jan. 29.

“This was a group of kids who have been cooped up for 11 days, and they were able to release a lot of frustrations tonight,” said Lister.

“And, I’ve been saying since Day 1 that our second five could start for a lot of teams in the area,” noted Lister. “I think it helped us to beat up on each other for the last 11 days.

“I was very pleased with our intensity tonight,” added Lister. “The boys played extremely hard, and our defense was outstanding.”

Karson Dominick knocked down a 3-pointer to give NP-M a 5-2 lead then added a pair of buckets in the paint to make it 9-6 with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter.

After a lay-up by senior J.J. Babcock of an in-bounds play cut the deficit to 9-8, Dominick, who scored nine points in the stanza, made a pair of free throws to give the Tigers an 11-8 with 3:11 remaining in the first quarter.

On the Wildcats’ next possession, they hit the offensive boards. On their fourth shot of the possession, Lister canned a 3-pointer from the win with 2:45 remaining in the first quarter to tie the game at 11-11.

With 1:30 remaining, Lister scored in transition to make it 13-11. Moments later, Athens forced a turnover with its press, and Babcock knocked down an 18-foot jumper to make it 15-11.

Senior Nalen Carling drained a runner with 1 second remaining to give the Wildcats a 17-11 lead after the first eight minutes.

The second quarter was all Athens. Its pressure defense resulted in 14 NP-M turnovers in the stanza, including in each of its final 10 possessions of the half. The Tigers did not get a shot off in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter.

After a blocked shot by Babcock, Lister scored in transition to make it 19-11 with 7:30 remaining in the first half.

Dominick scored off an in-bounds play with 6:45 left in the half to close the gap to 19-13, but that was NP-M’s only bucket in Athens’ 19-2 seconds-quarter run.

After Carling scored on a putback, Brown scooped up a loose ball and found Babcock for a dunk to make it 23-13 with 5:28 remaining in the half.

Lister knocked down another 3-pointer with 3:32 remaining in the half to make it 26-13. Moments later, after another NP-M turnover, Lister dropped a behind-his-back pass to Babcock for an emphatic dunk with 3:10 remaining to extend the lead to 28-13.

A driving lay-up by senior Tucker Brown with 9 seconds remaining gave the Wildcats a 34-13 lead at the half.

Senior Troy Pritchard capped the 26-2 run with a drive down the lane with 6:50 left in the third quarter to make it 36-13.

After a putback by Dominick closed the gap to 36-15 with 6:40 remaining, the Wildcats went on a 15-0 blitz to take a 51-15 lead with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter. Lister scored six points in the run, and Brown added five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play.

Lister led Athens with 18 points, while Babcock scored 12 points, Brown had 11 points, Carling had eight points, sophomore Carson Smith added six points, and freshman Kolsen Keathley chipped in with four points.

Dominick led NP-M with 14 points, and Brody Burleigh added seven.

Lister was not only pleased with his team’s performance, but also by the support from the student section.

“The student section was out in force,” he said. “They were awesome, they were loud, and I hope to see them Friday and Saturday night.”

Athens, now 13-5, returns to action Friday when it hosts Wellsboro. The Wildcats travel to Troy Saturday.

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ATHENS SHAKES OFF SLOW STARTS; PULLS AWAY FROM WYALUSING, 56-29

ATHENS SHAKES OFF SLOW STARTS; PULLS AWAY FROM WYALUSING, 56-29

February 8, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens shook off a slow start, then pulled away for a 56-29 win over Wyalusing here Tuesday night in NTL Large School Division girls basketball action.

Olivia Spencer scored four points, Brin Zionkowski canned a 3-pointer, and Olivia Leichliter converted an old-fashioned three-point play to help the Lady Rams to a 10-6 lead after the first eight minutes, but the Lady Wildcats dominated the final three quarters.

Senior Caydence Macik, who moved past Janet Gabriel and Kayleigh Miller into fifth all-time on the program’s scoring list, pumped in 14 points in the second quarter after being shutout in the first half, while junior Karlee Bartlow canned a 3-pointer and added five points to fuel a 19-8 run that gave the Lady Wildcats a 25-18 lead at the half.

Junior Natalee Watson scored six points, while junior Emma Bronson and Macik added four points apiece in a 17-6 run that extended the Athens lead to 42-24 heading into the final eight minutes.

Bronson scored six points in the fourth quarter, and senior Olivia Bartlow added four points as Athens sealed its victory with a 14-5 game-closing run.

Macik, who now has 1,202 career points, led Athens with 20 points, eight rebounds, seven steals, two assists, and two blocked shots, while Karlee Bartlow had 12 points, four assists, and three rebounds, and Bronson scored 12 points.

Watson added six points in the win, while Olivia Bartlow chipped in with four points, three boards, and one blocked shot, freshman Addy Wheeler had four rebounds, four assists, and four steals, and sophomore Mya Thompson chipped in with three rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots.

Zionkowski led Wyalusing with 17 points and five 3-pointers, while Leichliter added five points, and Spencer chipped in with four points.

Athens, now 13-5, hosts Troy Thursday.

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ATHENS CLOSES STRONG IN 52-37 WIN OVER WELLSBORO

ATHENS CLOSES STRONG IN 52-37 WIN OVER WELLSBORO

February 7, 2022 Tim Birney

WELLSBORO — Thanks in part to a switch back to full-court pressure with five minutes remaining, Athens closed the game with a 16-2 run in a 52-37 win over Wellsboro here Monday night in NTL Large School Division girls basketball action.

After Wellsboro’s Ella Posada scored with 6:02 remaining to trim the Athens lead to one point, at 36-35, the Wildcats had three offensive rebounds in a row in an attempt to push the lead back to three points, but turned the ball over before it could get off its fourth shot of the possession.

Athens coach Brian Miller then called a time out, and put his team back into a full-court press.

“We wanted to pressure them the whole game, but we got into a little bit of foul trouble, so we had to take it off, which hurt our scoring opportunities,” he said.

“We wanted to turn up the pressure after the time out to create some more scoring opportunities, which we did,” added Miller. “And once (Emma) Coolidge fouled out, we dialed it up a little bit more.”

Wellsboro turned the ball over on its first possession after the time out when freshman Addy Wheeler came up with a steal and full-court pass to junior Emma Bronson for a lay-up to make it 38-35 with 4:09 remaining.

After a steal in the press, Macik scored in the low post off a nice entry pass from Wheeler, then added a free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play to make it 41-35 with 3:43 left in the game.

After another turnover, Bronson knocked down two free throws to make it 43-35 with 3:17 remaining, prompting a Wellsboro timeout.

Wellsboro quickly beat the Athens press on its next possession with Maddy Mascho’s lay-up closing the gap to 43-37 with 3:06 left in the contest.

After an Athens timeout, the Lady Wildcats began to milk the clock, and made 4 of 6 free throws to take a 47-37 lead with 1:20 remaining.

Following a Wellsboro turnover, Bronson connected with Macik on a “TD pass” off the in-bounds pass for a lay-up to make it 49-37 with 1:01 left in the game.

“Emma Bronson had a nice fourth quarter, and went 3-for-4 from the foul line,” said Miller,  “And, Caydence (Macik) was dominant in the second half.

“Aside from scoring, Addy (Wheeler) had the most solid game from start to finish — pressuring the basketball, getting the ball to girls in areas they can score, and not turning the ball over,” noted Miller.

“As a coach, I appreciate what she does,” added Miller. “It’s not all about scoring. She played a great floor game.”

Junior Karlee Bartlow made a free throw and a 3-pointer in the opening 70 seconds of the game to give the Lady Wildcats a 4-0 lead, and they never trailed.

On several occasions, Athens built their lead to six or seven points, only to have Wellsboro close the gap to one or two points.

“That’s a credit to them and their coach,” said Miller. “They are a good team, and coach Davis is an outstanding coach, who has been doing it for years.

“He knows how to keep the game close with his game plan, and give his team a chance to win.

“Every time we got the lead to a point where I thought we’d be in control, all the sudden here comes Wellsboro — they’re executing and we’re not,” added Miller. “Fortunately, we finished the game strong on a nice run.”

A bucket by Thompson pushed the Athens lead to 9-4 with 1:50 left in the first quarter.

After a bucket by Emma Coolidge trimmed the deficit to 9-6, junior Natalee Watson scored off a feed from Bronson, and sophomore Mya Thompson, off an assist from Wheeler, scored her third bucket of the opening stanza to make it 13-6 with just 10 seconds remaining.

The teams traded buckets until a pair of free throws by Coolidge with 1:53 remaining in the half, and a 3-pointer by Chloe Brandenburg with 20 seconds left closed the gap to 21-19 at the half.

Macik made 3 of 4 free throws in the opening 80 seconds of the second half to give Athens a 24-19 lead.

With 4:50 left in the third quarter, Brandenburg knocked down another 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 26-24, but senior Olivia Bartlow, off an assist from Wheeler, and a Wheeler lay-up following a steal and coast-to-coast drive extended the lead to 30-24 with 3:45 left.

Wellsboro closed the gap to 34-33 in the opening moments of the fourth quarter on a pair of free throws by Coolidge, but Thompson scored on the break to make it 36-33, and Posada scored to set the stage for Athens’ game-closing blitz.

Macik led Athens with 23 points and eight rebounds, while Karlee Bartlow had 10 points and five boards, and Thompson had six points and one blocked shot.

Wheeler contributed seven assists, five rebounds, seven steals, and two blocked shots, while Bronson added five points, three rebounds, and three assists, and Watson chipped in with four points.

Coolidge led Wellsboro with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandenburg added eight points.

With the win, the Wildcats keep their hopes alive for a second-place finish in the Large School Division, and a berth in the NTL Showdown.

“We have four games left and they will dictate whether we make the Showdown or not,” said Miller. “Hopefully, we beat Wyalusing, and the next game means something.”

Miller says his team is approaching every game as a playoff game, and he believes it will beneficial once the postseason rolls around.

“Playing games that count down the stretch to make your league final four is going to give us the pressure we need when it comes to the Showdown, or District play, where every possession determines whether we game to play another game or not,” he said.

Athens hosts Wyalusing Tuesday, with the varsity game at 6 p.m., and the JV game to follow.

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ATHENS SCORES FIRST 21 POINTS IN 51-19 WIN OVER SULLIVAN COUNTY

ATHENS SCORES FIRST 21 POINTS IN 51-19 WIN OVER SULLIVAN COUNTY

February 5, 2022 Tim Birney

LAPORTE, Pa. — Athens scored the first 21 points of the game, and cruised to a 51-19 win over Sullivan County Saturday afternoon in non-league girls basketball action.

Junior Karlee Bartlow knocked down a 3-pointer and scored five points in the first quarter, and Caydence Macik an and junior Natalee Watson scored four points apiece as the Lady Wildcats raced out to a 17-0 lead after the first eight minutes.

Freshman Addy Wheeler, sophomore Mya Thompson, and Karlee Bartlow scored four points apiece in the second quarter in an 18-7 run that stretch the Lady Wildcat lead to 35-7 at the halftime intermission.

Macik scored five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play, and Karlee Bartlow connected on a 3-pointer as Athens used a 10-5 spurt to extend its advantage to 45-12 heading into the final eight minutes.

Karlee Bartlow led Athens with 12 points and five assists, while Macik had 11 points and six rebounds,and Wheeler had six points and three steals.

Thompson had six points, five rebounds, and three blocked shots in the win, while Watson had six points and one blocked shot, and junior Emma Bronson and sophomore Sara Bronson added four points apiece.

Athens, now 12-5, returns to action Monday at Wellsboro.

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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT TOPS ATHENS, 39-28, IN OPENING ROUND OF D4 DUALS

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT TOPS ATHENS, 39-28, IN OPENING ROUND OF D4 DUALS

February 2, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens lost the pre-match coin flip, a couple of “toss-up” matches, and eventually a 39-28 decision to South Williamsport here Wednesday night in the opening round of the District 4 Wrestling Duals.

Losing the coin toss, which determines who dictates the match-ups throughout the match, was a critical blow, said Athens coach Shawn Bradley.

“It was huge,” said Bradley. “Unfortunately, we have a team where it comes down to the flip.”

Losing the toss, led to a domino effect for the Wildcats

“(South Williamsport) gets to control the match-ups, so we have to wrestle Bobby Gardner, which is normally great,” said Bradley. “Any other time that’s a match you want, but with our team we need to control the match-ups.

“If we control the match-ups, I think we get two more falls, but it didn’t work out,” he added.

The match started with Athens senior Kaden Setzer, who entered the night at 26-3, squaring off against South’s Bobby Gardner, 24-2 and ranked No. 1 in the state at 126 pounds.

After a scoreless first period, Setzer was on top to start the second period, and twice returned Gardner to the mat directly to his back for two sets of swipes and a 5-0 lead.

Gardner registered an escape with 19 seconds remaining, then scored a takedown with 7 seconds left to close the gap to 5-3.

Gardner cut Setzer loose to start the third, extending the lead to 6-3, but the South standout scored three takedowns, including one with 8 seconds remaining to pull out a 9-8 decision to give the Mounties an early 3-0 lead.

“It wouldn’t have made difference in the match if (Setzer) pulls that out,” said Bradley. “Kaden gets the match-up with the No. 1 kid in the state at 126 … he’s controlling the match, he has to step up and win that damn match.

“If he wants to be a state medalist, he has to win that match,” added Bradley. “Hopefully, he learns from that match, and he gets the state medal.”

After a Wildcat forfeit at 138, junior Jake Courtney put Athens on the board with a third-period pin of Gabe Harvey.

After a scoreless first period, Harvey cut Courtney loose to start the second period. Courtney scored a pair of takedowns in the middle two minutes, and led 5-1 entering the final two minutes.

In the third period, Courtney scored a quick escape, and hit a double-leg for a 10-1 lead. He feigned cutting Harvey loose, then locked in a cradle, and scored the fall at 5:13 to close the gap to 9-6.

At 152 pounds, after a scoreless first period, Athens senior Lucas Forbes scored a pair of takedown to take a 4-1 lead with 53 seconds remaining in the second period, but Landyn Gephart tied the bout with an escape and a takedown in the closing moments.

Gerhart started on top in the third period, and stopped Forbes’ attempt at a Granby Roll for three near-fall points to secure a 7-4 decision to give South a 12-6 lead.

At 160, Athens senior Karter Rude turned a single-leg into a standing cradle and a 37-second fall over Garrett Cooley to tie the match at 12-12.

At 172 pounds, South’s Jonah White hit a four-point move with 22 seconds remaining in the second period, and held on to top senior Cameron Whitmarsh, 4-1.

Bradley said the matches at 152 and 172 were pivotal.

“No excuses,” said Bradley. “We are seniors there, we have to have heart and win those matches. It has to mean more to us than their kids, and it didn’t.”

South’s Landon Lorson and Ryan Casella followed with first-period pins at 189 and 215 pounds, respectively, to extend the Mounties’ lead to 27-12.

After a forfeit to sophomore Josh Nittinger at 285 pounds closed the gap to 27-18, South’s Kaden Shay locked up the win for the Mounties with a first-period pin at 106.

After the teams exchanged forfeits at 113 and 120 to make it 39-24, Athens sophomore Mason Vanderpool forged a 14-2 major decision over Jackson Swinehart at 126 pounds to close out the match.

Vanderpool scored a takedown and two sets of near-fall points for a 7-0 lead after the first period. He ran an arm bar for three near-fall points to take a 10-0 lead into the final two minutes.

After Swinehart recorded a takedown early in the third period, Vanderpool reversed Swinehart to his back for two near-fall points and a 14-2 major decision.

Athens finishes the dual season at 8-4, and returns to action Feb. 19 when it hosts the North Section Championships.

——————

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT 39, ATHENS 28
132: Bobby Gardner (SW) dec. Kaden Setzer (A), 9-8;
138: Sam Persun (SW) by forfeit;
145: Jacob  Courtney (A) by fall over Gabe Harvey (SW), 5:12;
152: Landyn Gephart (SW) dec. Lucas Forbes (A), 7-4;
160: Karter Rude (A) by fall over Garrett Cooley (SW), 0:37;
172: Jonah White (SW) dec. Cameron Whitmarsh (A), 4-1;
189: Landon Lorson (SW) by fall over Colin Rosh (A), 0:42;
215: Ryan Casella (SW) by fall over Caleb Nason (A), 1:30;
285: Joshua Nittinger (A) by forfeit;
106: Kaden Shay (SW) by fall over Keaton Sinsabaugh (A). 1:42;
113: Gavin Bradley (A) by forfeit;
120: Kayvan Shams (SW) by forfeit;
126: Mason Vanderpool (A) major dec. Jackson Swinehart (SW), 14-2.

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ATHENS BOYS TOP ELK LAKE; LADY WILDCATS FALL

ATHENS BOYS TOP ELK LAKE; LADY WILDCATS FALL

February 1, 2022 Tim Birney

DIMOCK, Pa. — Junior Ethan Denlinger and freshman Ethan Hicks were triple-winners to lead Athens to a  101-59 win over Elk Lake here Tuesday afternoon in non-league swimming action, while the Lady Wildcats dropped a 102-83 decision.

Junior Chris DeForest, and freshmen Ronel Ankam and Carter Lewis were double-winners for the Wildcats, who are 4-1 on the season.

Hicks won the 200-yard IM in a time of 2:26.86, and junior Travis Webster was third in 3:03.11.

Hicks also won the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:03.4, and freshman Pierce Oldroyd was third in 1:58.88.

Denlinger won the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 5:42.85.

Hicks, Denlinger, Ankam, and Lewis won the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:57.59.

Denlinger, DeForest, Ankam, and Gorman teamed to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in a time of 1:42.36.

Webster and Lewis, teamed with freshmen Josh Leonard and Treyvon Simpson to win the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 2:23.7.

DeForest won the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 58.47 seconds, and Leonard was third in 1:14.88

Denlinger was second in the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:01.66, and junior Joe Blood was third in 3:31.71.

DeForest finished second in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.67 seconds, and Ankam was third in 25.64 seconds

Lewis was second in the 1-meter diving completion with 112.2 points, and Simpson was third with 102.15.

Gorman (59.83 seconds) and freshman Aiden Oldroyd (1:12.77) finished second and third, respectively, in the 100-yard freestyle.

Gorman finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:23.43, and Webster was third in 1:29.16.

GIRLS
Elk Lake 102, Athens 83

Junior Taegan Williams and Taylar Fisher, and senior Brooke Kopatz won four events apiece, but Elk Lake used superior depth to pull out a 102-83 decision.

Williams won the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:08.56, and sophomore Grace Cobb was third in 2:26.46. Williams also won the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 59.59 seconds.

Kopatz won the 200-yard IM in a time of 2:35.63. Kopatz also won the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:16.66.

Fisher won the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 1:10.17. Fisher also won the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:11.82.

Fisher, Kpoatz, and Williams teamed with sophomore Emily Marshall to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in a time of 1:55.41. The same foursome won the 400-yard freestyle really in a time of 4:17.94.

Senior Hannah Walker finished third in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 31.23 seconds, and
Cobb finished third in the 500-yard freestyle in 6:37.77

Freshman Abby Panek was third in the 1-meter diving competition with 166.5 points

Athens closes out the dual season next week against Towanda.

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MISSED OPPORTUNITIES COST ATHENS IN 43-32 LOSS TO TOWANDA

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES COST ATHENS IN 43-32 LOSS TO TOWANDA

January 31, 2022 Chris Manning

ATHENS — Missed opportunities haunted Athens on Monday as their defense kept them in the game against the league unbeaten Towanda, but they didn’t hit the shots they needed to to get the win, falling, 43-32. to the Knights in NTL Large School girls basketball action.

“First of all, I thought we played much better defense this time than last time,” Athens coach Brian Miller said, referencing his team’s 52-25 loss at Towanda four days ago.

“To be honest with you, it was a blow out last time, they smoked us down at their place,” noted Miller. “Today, we came in and we wanted to prove ourselves that we were better than that team that played down there, and I think we did.

“The foul shots, and not just open lay-ups, open shots, you play against a team like Towanda you’ve got to make big shots when you’re open, and we just didn’t. We wanted to keep that game in the 40s, and, win that game, but we just couldn’t get to the 40s offensively,” said Miller.

In the fourth quarter, it was a 10-point game for nearly two minutes when the Wildcats came up empty in three straight possessions. They created some turnovers to cut it to 36-29 with just over two minutes to play, but two more empty trips on the offensive end followed.

Towanda’s Eliza Fowler then hit an open 3-ball with 1:12 left on the clock, and that pretty much sealed it.

“We got it to six, and then one of their role players made that big three at the top of the key,” said Miller. “We need girls like that to step up and make big shots in certain situations, and we just didn’t tonight.

“But, kudos to Towanda, they’re the best team in the NTL, they’re a very good team in District IV, so, we proved we could play with them for a lot of minutes,” noted Miller. “We just needed to make some shots, make some foul shots, and limits their easy baskets.”

Karlee Bartlow had 12 points to lead Athens, including two 3-balls, while Caydence Macik added nine. Addy Wheeler finished with five, Olivia Bartlow had four, and Natalee Watson rounded out their scorers with two.

The Wildcats finished 8-for-14 from the charity stripe, while also seeing a few uncontested lay-ups rim out.

Paige Manchester and Porschia Bennett had 15 points apiece to lead Towanda, with Gracie Schoonover netting six. Bella Hurley scoring four, and Fowler hitting the dagger three.

The Knights opened an 8-0 lead in the first half of the first quarter. Manchester opened with a 3-ball, followed by a Hurley jumper off a Manchester pass. Bennett then went 1-of-2 from the line, followed by a coast-to-coast driving lay-up.

Macik got the Wildcats on the scoreboard with a free throw, sparking a 5-0 run as that was followed by buckets from Olivia Bartlow and Wheeler, cutting git to 8-5.

In the final minute, though, Bennett had the final say, netting a lay-up, and going 1-of-2 from the free throw line to put Towanda up 11-5 at the first horn.

She finished with six in the quarter, then opened the second with a lay-up to make it 13-5. Athens would counter with two free throws, but a Schoonover jumper off an Aziza Ismailova assist began a 5-0 run for the Knights. Manchester followed with a lay-up, while Bennett went 1-of-2 from the line to make it 18-7.

Athens, though, didn’t let them get too far ahead, going on a 6-0 spurt, as Karlee Bartlow began it with a free throw, and ended it with a 3-ball, closing the gap to 18-13.

Schoonover had the final bucket for Towanda, bagging a jumper to make it 20-13 at the half.

The Knights opened the third quarter with a 4-0 run as Schoonover had a putback, followed by a Manchester steal and lay-up, making it 24-13.

Macik ended the run with a bucket. Then came some free throws — Hurley went 1 of 2, Macik went 2-for-2 - followed by a Manchester 3-ball to put the Knights up 28-17 midway through the third quarter.

Towanda went to some high-low action as Schoonover found Bennett for a lay-up, followed by Hurley getting another free throw, and it looked like the Knights would run away again, gong up 31-17.

Karlee Bartlow, though, got a steal and lay-up for the final score of the quarter to cut it to 31-19 heading into the final eight minutes.

A Macik jumper to start the fourth made it a 10-point game again. Manchester came back with a 3-ball, but a Watson lay-up off a Macik assist kept Athens within in shouting distance, at 34-23.

Manchester would get a put back, ballooning the lead to 13 points, but that’s as big as it would get.

On the other end, Karlee Bartlow banked in a 3-pointer, cutting it to 36-26, with 4:21 left to start a 6-0 Wildcat run.

After scoring three points off two steals they cut it to 36-19 with just over two minutes left to play, but that’s when Fowler hit the dagger.

Athens didn’t go away, though, at one point cutting it to nine points on an Olivia Bartlow lay-up with 50 seconds to play.

However, it was Towanda getting the final bucket — a Manchester lay-up off a Hurley pass — to end the game.

Going forward Athens will try and lock up the second spot in the division to make the NTL Showdown. They’re a game behind Troy, but get them at their place next week.

“We have six games left, so we’re going to try to win those six games,” said Miller. “Hopefully, try to make the showdown, and probably go to Northeast and play, which will get us ready for districts,

“Who knows, we could win at Northeast, and get another good game, then try to get ready for districts, and focus on that,” added Miller.

Regardless, he was glad to see the fight in his team on its home floor.

“I told them, ‘be proud of the way you played tonight,’” he said. “If we could have taken care of some little things, it could have been a different game down the stretch.”

Athens, now 11-5, travels to Wellsboro Thursday.

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BRADLEY WINS TITLE, RUDE, COURTNEY RUNNERS-UP TO LEAD ATHENS IN THIRD-PLACE FINISH AT BEDFORD TOURNAMENT

BRADLEY WINS TITLE, RUDE, COURTNEY RUNNERS-UP TO LEAD ATHENS IN THIRD-PLACE FINISH AT BEDFORD TOURNAMENT

January 29, 2022 Tim Birney

BEDFORD, Pa. — Unbeaten senior Gavin Bradley bumped up a weight class this weekend, and still ran the table to win the 120-pound crown at the annual Thomas Chevrolet Tournament, while five of his teammates also placed to help the Wildcats to a third-place finish in the team standings.

Senior Karter Rude and junior Jake Courtney each brought home second-place medals, while senior Kaden Setzer placed third in his weight class, sophomore Josh Nittinger was sixth, and freshman Caleb Nason was seventh.

PIAA powerhouse ran away with the team title with 268 points, including five first-place finishes, while Burrell was second with 146 points, and Athens tallied 143.5 points. Beth-Center finished fourth with 138.5, and Northern Garrett was fifth with 118.5 points.

Bradley, the state’s top-ranked 113-pounder, won via default over Chestnut Ridge’s Ryan Dull in the 120-pound semifinals.

In the finals, Bradley, the second seed, squared off with top-seeded Cooper Hornack of Burrell, and forged a 9-1 major decision.

Bradley hit a five-point move with 29 seconds remaining in the fist period, and led 5-0 after the first two minutes.

Bradley sealed the 120-pound title with a pair of takedowns in the second period.

At 138 pounds, Courtney, the second seed, gave up a first-period takedown to third-seeded Chad Weist of Tussey Mountain, and trailed 2-0 at the end of the first two minutes.

Courtney started on the top in the second period, and rode Weist until turning him for a fall at 3:35.

In the finals, top-seeded Jacob Brenneman  of Northern Garrett used a big second period in a 7-1 decision over Courtney.

Brenneman recorded a takedown late in the first period and rode out the final 36 seconds to take a 2-0 lead into the second period, while he added an escape off the whistle, and two takedowns.

Brenneman rode out the final two minutes to preserve the win.

At 152 pounds, Rude, the third seed, upended second-seeded Jack Moyer of Chestnut Ridge in the semifinals.

Rude registered a pair of takedowns in the first period and led 4-1, but Moyer closed the gap to 4-2 with a quick takedown to start the second period.

Rude countered with an escape to start the third period, but Moyer closed the gap to 5-4 with a takedown with 24 seconds remaining.

After being cut loose, Rude scored a takedown with 13 seconds remaining to seal the 8-4 decision.

In the finals, top-seeded Tyler Berish of Beth-Center pulled out a hard-fought, 3-0, recision to win the 152-pound crown.

After a scoreless first period, Berish scored an escape just eight seconds into the second period, then added a takedown with 21 seconds left.

Bearish rode top for the entire third period to  preserve the win.

At 132 pounds, Setzer, the third seed, opened his day with a 5-3 overtime loss to second-seeded Kyle McCollum of Beth-Center.

After a scoreless first period, McCollum took a 1-0 lead with an escape midway through the second period. Setzer registered a takedown with 29 seconds remaining, but McCollum reversed him 10 seconds later to take a 3-2 lead into the third period.

Setzer tied it up midway through the third period, and the two grapplers spent the final 47 seconds on their feet.

McCollum’s sudden-victory takedown came with 1 seconds remaining in the extra session.

In the consolation semifinals, Setzer build an 8-2 lead before pinning Somerset’s Logan Baker in 2:50.

Setzer scored a takedown and led 2-1 after the first period, then hit a five-point move midway through the second period to take a 7-0 lead.

After a Baker escape, Setzer hit another big move, this time finishing off the fall with just 10 seconds remaining in the second period.

In the third-place match, Setzer fought off his back to pin fourth-seeded Jaxon Matthews of Central in 3:25.

After a scoreless first period, Matthews scored an escape with 1:33 remaining, then hit a five-point move, and had Setzer on his back at the buzzer.

Setzer took Matthews directly to his back, and finished off the fall just 25 seconds into the third period.

At 285 pounds, Nittinger, who was 3-1 Friday, scored a 4-1 decision over Milton’s Paul Rohland in the “blood round,” then lost via fall to sixth-seeded Cooper Lingenfelter in 3:42.

In the sixth-place match, NIttinger, the 13th seed, gave up a takedown with 12 seconds remaining in overtime in a 2-0 loss to fifth-seeded Karter Quick of Central Cambria.

At 215 pounds, Nason, the ninth seed, forged an 11-2 major decision over Chestnut Ridge’s Alex Crist in the “blood round,”  then lost via second-round fall to fifth-seeded Braxton Schwartz of Tri-Valley in the consolation quarterfinals.

In the seventh-place match, Nason fought off his back at the end of the second period, and scored a five-point move at the end of the third period for a 9-7 win over Southern Huntingdon’s Mitchell Hart.

At 189 pounds, senior Collin Rosh gave up a five-point move in the final nine seconds in an 8-5 setback against Chestnut Ridge’s Nick Presnell in the “blood round.”

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SECOND QUARTER SINKS ATHENS IN 69-38 LOSS TO DALLAS

SECOND QUARTER SINKS ATHENS IN 69-38 LOSS TO DALLAS

January 29, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens led by five points after the first quarter, but walked into the halftime locker room down by 21 in a 69-38 loss to Dallas here Saturday evening in non-league boys basketball action.

“Believe it or not, these are the type of non-league games I want,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “This game will make us better, and we will be ready for the final two weeks of our season.”

Senior Nalen Carling knocked down a 3-pointer and scored five points in the first quarter, and juniors Mason Lister and Chris Mitchell added four points apiece to lead Athens to a 17-12 lead after the first eight minutes.

The next eight minutes was all Dallas.

Nick Nocito canned four 3-pointers for 12 points in the stanza, while Austin Finarelli pumped in 10 points, and Michael Cumbo canned a pair of 3-pointers to fuel a 32-point outburst that gave Dallas a 44-23 lead at the halftime intermission.

Nocito scored seven more points in the third quarter, including his fifth 3-pointer of the game, and Finarelli added four points in a 19-7 run that extended the lead to 63-30 heading into the final eight minutes.

Nocito led the Mountaineers with 21 points and five 3-pointers, while Finarelli added 17, and Cumbo chipped in with 11, including a trio of 3-pointers.

Mitchell led Athens with 10 points and three rebounds, while Carling scored seven points, Lister added six points, three rebounds, three assists, and three steals, and senior J.J. Babcock chipped in with seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots.

Athens, now 12-5, returns to action Wednesday at Towanda.

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