By: Tim Birney | | January 27, 2022 | Photo courtesy David Alliger


TOWANDA — Athens dug itself a big hole early, and Paige Manchester and Porscia Bennett made sure the Lady Wildcats wouldn’t get out of it, leading Towanda to a lopsided 52-25 win here Thursday night in a key NTL Large School girls basketball match-up.

“(Towanda) came ready to play, and we didn’t,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “Porscia (Bennett) and Paige (Manchester) had 18 of their 26 points in the first half … they stepped up in the big game and did a great job — kudos to them.

“We got in a hole, and against two good players like that, it’s tough to get out of that hole,” he added.

Miller made no excuses after the loss.

“(Towanda) outplayed us,” he said. “Their game plan was to pressure the ball to get some turnovers, and it worked.

“Their plan was to focus on Caydence (Macik), and make other girls hit some shots, and, unfortunately, we didn’t hit those open shots,” Miller noted.

“When Caydence Macik only gets six shots, that is not a good thing for us,” he continued. “They were focused on her, and Bennett did a good job on her …  she used her quickness and athleticism to make things difficult.

“We had our opportunities. We made 1 of 10 free throws in the first half … and we missed some open shots, but their role players made some key 3s.

“Kudos to Coach (Rob) Gentile and his girls.,” added Miller. “They played good, and we did not.”

Bennett scored seven points in the first quarter, while Manchester added four, and Destiny Brennan canned a 3-pointer to help Towanda to a 16-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

Manchester scored four points in the second quarter, and Aziza Ismailova drained a 3-pointer in a 10-5 spurt that gave the Knights a 26-9 lead at the break.

Bennett scored from close range, and Manchester drained a 3-pointer and made 1 of 2 free throws to give Towanda a 32-9 lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Junior Karlee Bartlow led Athens with eight points and four rebounds, while senior Caydence Macik had seven points, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocked shots, and freshman Addy Wheeler added five points and four rebonds.

Senior Olivia Bartlow had five boards and one blocked shot for the Wildcats, and junior Natalee Watson grabbed three rebounds.

Manchester led Towanda with 20 points, and Bennett added 19.

Athens, now 10-4, hosts Cowanesque Valley Friday night.


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).