DALLAS — Dallas knocked down six first-half 3-pointers on its way to a
22-point halftime lead, and cruised to a 71-34 win over a
turnover-plagued Athens here Saturday night in non-league boys
“I am disappointed in our effort tonight,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “We turned the ball over 29 times, with 20 of those turnovers in the first half.
“You just cannot do that period,” noted Lister. “Especially against a good, fundamentally-sound team like Dallas.
“On top of that they hit 12 threes,” added Lister. “That’s just not a good combination.
Junior Austin Finarelli knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first quarter, and junior Nick Nocito also hit a pair of treys and scored eight points as the Mountaineers jumped out to a 24-11 lead after the first eight minutes.
It was much the same in the second quarter as Finarelli and Nocito combined for 13 points in a 22-13 spurt that gave Dallas a 46-24 lead at the half.
It got worse in the second half as the Mountaineers outscored the Wildcats 25-10, holding Athens without a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Junior Troy Pritchard led Athens with 12 points and eight rebounds, while junior J.J. Babcock scored eight points and grabbed four boards, sophomore Mason Lister added seven points and three assists, and senior Griffen Stein chipped in with five points and four rebounds.
Finarelli led all scorers with 25 points, including four 3-pointers, and Nocito added 16 points.
“Hopefully we learned something tonight,” said Lister. “We need to re-group, watch the film and get ready for a very good North Penn-Liberty team on Tuesday night.”
ATHENS — Junior J.J. Babcock scored 11 points in the final 3 1/2 minutes
of the game, including a pair of free throws with 10.2 seconds
remaining, to help Athens erase a nine-point deficit, and post a 52-51
win over Wyalusing here Friday night in NTL boys basketball action.
“J.J (Babcock) took over at the end,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “He has a lot of God-given talent, and he’s a hell of a player.”
The win marks the second Friday in a row, the Wildcats needed a major fourth-quarter comeback. Last week, Athens trailed Wellsboro by 16 with 5:07 remaining, and rallied for a 54-53 win.
Lister said he’s hoping it doesn’t become a habit.
“It’s frustrating. It’s like we struggle for 3 1/2 quarters, then we wake up. This is the third time this has happened,” he said.
“We did not play very good basketball, but the one thing I will say about these kids is, they don’t quit — they play right to the very end.
“I wish I had the answers, but it seems to come together in the fourth quarter,” added Lister.
Junior Tucker Brown, off a feed from Babcock, gave Athens a 2-1 with 6:49 remaining in the first quarter. It would be the Wildcats’ only lead until the final minute of the game.
A 3-pointer by Grayden Cobb gave the Rams a 6-3 lead with 5:23 left in the first quarter. A 3-pointer by Hunter Moss, and another by Cobb pushed the lead to 14-7 about 2 1/2 minutes later.
A bucket by Babcock, an old-fashioned three-point play by junior Troy Pritchard, and a free throw by Brown trimmed the lead to 14-13 with 2:03 left in the first quarter, but the Rams closed the quarter with a 6-0 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer by Moss to make it 20-13 after the first eight minutes.
Lister and Babcock, off a nifty pick-and-roll with Brown, scored buckets to open the second quarter, and trim the deficit to 20-17.
The teams traded scores until Isaiah Way knocked down a shot in the lane to give the Rams a 28-23 lead with 4:20 left in the first half.
Way added four free throws, and Kashawn Cameron scored on a driving lay-up to complete an 8-2 first-half ending spurt that sent the Rams to the halftime locker room with a 34-25 lead.
Lister credited Wyalusing for its patient offense in the first half.
“They run that weave at the top (of the key), and try to get you to fall asleep,” he said. “They make you play defense, and when you take a second off, they cut to the lane, or kick it out.
“We worked on it at practice for an hour last night, and we still struggled with it.
“(In the first half) I was just trying to find the right combination that would work,” added Lister. “Honestly, what worked in the fourth quarter was full-court man-to-man; that’s what got us back in the game.”
Lister also pointed to his team’s shooting woes in the first half. The ‘Cats made 8 of 32 shots (25 percent) from the field.
“We had good, high-percentage shots in the first half,” he said. “We just weren’t making them. We were missing lay-ups, the shots we have to make, we weren’t making.”
A driving lay-up by Mitchell Burke midway through the third quarter gave Wyalusing its biggest lead of the game, at 49-37.
A conventional three-point play by Babcock, and a free throw by junior Nalen Carling trimmed the deficit to 49-41 with 54 seconds remaining, but a driving lay-up Burke pushed the lead back to 10.
A point-blank jumper by Pritchard with 20 seconds remaining, pulled Athens within eight points, at 41-33, entering the fourth quarter.
A pair of free throws by Abram Bennett gave Wyalusing a 48-37 lead with 4:14 remaining, but Burke fouled out of the game 13 seconds later, and the Wildcats closed the game with a 15-3 blitz.
“Credit Athens, it was a great effort to get back in the game,” said Wyalusing coach Brent Keyes.
“When the game got going up-and-down, we got in foul trouble, and it took some of our leadership off the floor,”” he noted.
“We got sped up, and turned the ball over,” added Keyes. “We gave too many possessions away in the second half.”
Babcock started the run with a short jumper with 3:30 left in the game. After a pair of Wyalusing turnovers, Babcock scored on a baseline drive, and added a free throw to complete the three-point play, trimming the deficit to 48-42 with 2:59 left in the game.
After a Wyalusing time out, Babcock came up with a steal in the Ram end, and scored on a breakaway lay-up to make it 48-44 with 2:21 left in the game.
Following another Wyalusing turnover, Brown was fouled on a drive to the bucket, and converted both free throws to trim the deficit to 48-46 with 1:53 remaining.
After both teams came up with defensive stops, Babcock recorded a steal, and found Carling in the lane with a shovel pass for an open jumper to tie the game at 48-48 with 1:04 remaining.
With both teams in the double-bonus, Bennett made 1 of 2 free throws with 57 seconds remaining, but Babcock tipped in an Athens miss16 seconds later to give the Wildcats a 50-49 lead.
With 29.7 seconds remaining, Way went to the line and drained a pair of free throws to give the Rams a 51-50 lead.
With 10.7 seconds remaining, Brown found Babcock open in the lane, and he was fouled. Babcock drained both free throws to provide the final margin, but the game didn’t end without a bit more drama.
Wyalusing in-bounded the ball, and called timeout when it cleared half court with 4.3 seconds. After the time out, a baseline jumper by the Rams was long, and Blake Morningstar was johnny-on-the-spot on the weak side with an offensive rebound, but his short jumper spun off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Babcock led Athens with 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Pritchard scored nine points, Brown had seven points, sophomore Mason Lister added five points, and senior James Benninger-Jones chipped in with four points.
Way led a balanced Wyalusing attack with 12 points, six rebounds, and one blocked shot, while Burke had 11 points and four rebounds, and Moss scored seven points.
Cobb scored six points for the Rams, while Morningstar added five points, five rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot, Cameron had four points and three rebounds, and Bennett chipped in with four points.
Athens, now 6-2, returns to action Tuesday at North Penn-Liberty.
ATHENS — Athens took an early lead, and pulled away during the middle
two quarters for a 41-18 win over Wyalusing here Friday night in NTL
junior varsity boys basketball action.
Lucas Kraft scored six points in the first quarter to help the junior Wildcats to a 12-5 lead after the first eight minutes.
Chris Mitchell scored four points in the second quarter, Carson Smith knocked down a 3-pointer, and Kraft added an old-fashioned three-point play to account for the scoring in a 10-3 run that pushed the lead to 22-8 at the half.
The junior Wildcats duplicated the 10-3 run in the third quarter, with four points by Smith and a 3-pointer by Conner Mosher doing most of the damage. They led 32-11 heading into the final eight minutes.
Korey Miller buried a 3-pointer and scored five points in the fourth quarter as Athens added two points to its lead.
Mitchell led Athens with 11 points, while Kraft and Smith scored nine points apiece, and Miller and Mosher chipped in with five points apiece.
Trenton Hugo and Nick Vanderpool led Wyalusing with five points apiece.
ATHENS — Athens used a 14-0 second-quarter run, fueled by eight points
in 50 seconds from junior Shayne Reid, to overcome an early deficit on
its way to a 78-61 win over North Penn-Mansfield here Wednesday night in
NTL Large School boys basketball action.
The Wildcats built an 18-9 lead with 2 /12 minutes remaining in the first quarter, but the Tigers closed the stanza with 13 straight points, then scored a quick bucket in the second quarter to take its biggest lead of the game, at 24-18.
“We came out of the gate strong tonight, right from the get-go,” said Lister. “We were rolling, then we just took our foot off the gas, and let them get back in the game.
“I wasn’t real happy, so I gave the guys a real hard time, and they responded,” added Lister.
The Wildcats forced NP-M into 20 turnovers, which created plenty of fast-break opportunities in the contest. They combined for 19 assists.
“We moved the ball well, and we were attacking the rim — our transition game has been really good,” said Lister. “And, we’ve been playing really good defense.
“I keep going back to that same old formula: if you play defense, you make lay-ups, and you make free throws, you win basketball games. That’s what we’re doing right now,” added Lister.
Twelve of Athens’ 19 assists came from the Wildcats’ big men — juniors Austin Lister, J.J. Babcock, and Nalen Carling.
“It’s something we work on in practice,” said Lister. “It’s a team game, I want to pound it inside. I want my bigs touching the ball. When that happens, good things happen, and it did tonight.”
Babcock pumped in 12 points, and junior Nalen Carling added a pair of buckets as Athens jumped out to an 18-9 lead, but Alex Stein scored seven of his 12 first-quarter points in a 13-0 Tiger run to end the quarter.
Freshman Carson Dominick gave NP-M a 24-18 lead on its first possession of the second quarter, but it would be nearly five minutes before they scored again. By that time, Athens led 32-24.
Carling triggered the Athens run with a putback on the offensive boards, then added a lay-up in transition, as well as a free throw to convert the old-fashioned three-point play that trimmed the deficit to 24-23.
Babcock, off a feed from Lister, gave Athens the lead for good with a fast-break bucket, and a Carling steal moments later turned into a lay-up by junior Tucker Brown to give the Wildcats a 27-24 lead.
Reid then scored on a driving lay-up in transition, and drained a 3-pointer to cap the run.
After a 3-pointer by NP-M’s Curtis Craig, Reid answered with another 3-pointer to make it 35-27.
“If someone’s feeling it, get him the ball,” said Lister. “Shayne (Reid) was feeling it today.
“It was his best game of the season so far,” he noted. “He was pushing the ball hard, he was making things happen, and his jump shot was there today.
“I keep saying it about this team: it could be anyone,” added Lister. “I have nine or 10 kids who can play basketball, and on any given night one of those kids can step up and deliver, and tonight was Shayne Reid’s night.”
A pair of free throws by Stein cut the lead to 35-29, but junior Troy Pritchard answered for the Wildcats with two free throws, and Lister and Reid followed with back-to-back buckets to make it 41-29.
Dominick scored on a shot jumper to make it 41-31, but Brown and Reid scored on drives to the bucket in the final 30 seconds of the half to give the Wildcats a 45-31.
Brown, off a feed from Carling, and Carling, off a feed from Brown, scored in transition in the opening minute of the second half, and moments later Lister buried a 3-pointer to make it 52-31.
The teams would trade buckets, with Tucker Brown’s lay-up giving the Wildcats a 60-41 lead, until the Tigers reeled off nine straight points to make it 60-50 with 20 seconds left in the third quarter.
Reid stopped the bleeding with a driving lay-up off the glass to give the Wildcats a 62-50 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Athens kept it going in the opening minute of the fourth quarter with buckets by Carling, Reid and Babcock to make it 68-50.
The closest NP-M would get the remainder of the game is 13 points, at 74-61.
Babcock pumped in 21 points — on 10 of 14 shooting from the field — and had six rebounds, five steals, three assists, and one blocked shot for the Wildcats, while Reid tallied a career-high 18 points on an 8 of 12 shooting performance, and Brown scored 15 points on 7 of 7 shooting from the field, with three rebounds and three assists.
Carling contributed 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the win, while Lister added seven points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists, and senior James Benninger-Jones grabbed four boards.
The Wildcats shot 49.3 (34 of 69) percent from the field.
Athens, now 5-2, has won four straight after losing two of its first three.
“I’m gonna go back to Tucker Brown’s 3-pointer against Wellsboro when we were down 16 in the fourth quarter,” said Lister. “Whatever was in that shot was magic, and the guys have responded ever since.”
Dominick led Mansfield with 20 points, while Stein scored 16, and Craig added 11.
Athens returns to action Friday when it hosts Wyalusing in a game that will be broadcast on Choice 102.1.
ATHENS — Athens raced to a 20-point first-quarter lead, stretched it to
33 at the half, and cruised to a 55-17 win over North Penn-Mansfield
here Wednesday night in NTL Large School Division junior varsity boys
Seven different players put their name in the scorebook in the first quarter for the junior Wildcats, led by six points from Carson Smith, and four apiece by Chris Mitchell and Lucas Kraft in a 24-4 blitz.
Smith scored five more points in the second quarter, and Mitchell and Connor Mosher added four apiece in a 15-2 run that put Athens ahead 39-6 at the half.
Smith led Athens with 11 points, while Nicholas Jacob scored 10 points, Mitchell had eight points, Mosher had seven points, Daven Spencer added five points, and Kraft, Korey Miller and Ryan Thompson chipped in with four points apiece.
Athens returns to action Friday when it hosts Wyalusing.
SAYRE — Athens used a 15-5 run that bridged the third and fourth
quarters to blow open a close game en route to a 54-41 win over
crosstown rival Sayre here Monday night in NTL boys basketball action.
The Wildcats were successful getting out in transition and converted several breakaway lay-ups throughout the contest.
“We really talk about pushing the ball, and attacking every time we have the ball,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “We have the speed and we have the size. We need to take advantage of that and use it … we did that at times tonight.
“It helps having kids who are 6-3, 6-4, 6-5,” added Lister. “It helps us get down the court, it helps us see over the defender, the press isn’t really bothering us.”
Sayre coach Devin Shaw also pointed to Athens’ fast-break success as the difference in the contest.
“I think our biggest problem was, we got beat on the fast break a lot tonight,” he said. “(Athens) got a lot of leak-out points, and I think that was the big difference.
“They built a lead, and it’s hard to come back, especially against a good team that can do that,” added Shaw.
Lister also pointed to his team’s performance on the defensive end of the floor, especially his big men getting out on Sayre’s shooters.
“I thought we had a good defensive night tonight,” he said. “Holding a team to 40 points is going to win you a lot of ball games.
“You have to look at the match-ups. Sayre likes to shoot the ball from the outside,” added Lister. “We had to take that away, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
Sayre’s Lucas Horton buried a 3-pointer to give Sayre a 3-2 lead about 90 seconds into the game, and the teams traded buckets for the next 2 1/2 minutes.
Sayre senior Connor Young’s short jumper in the lane gave Sayre a 7-6 lead with 4:02 remaining in the first quarter. It was the Redskins’ last lead of the game.
Moments later, junior Mason Lister scored on a driving lay-up to give the Wildcats an 8-7, and sparking an 8-0 spurt.
Junior J.J. Babcock made it 10-7 with a putback on the offensive boards, then scored back-to-back uncontested lay-ups in transition to push the lead to 14-7 with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
“I thought we did a good job of attacking the rim in the first quarter, and played some really good basketball,” said Lister. “Then, we got a little complacent in the second quarter.”
After the teams traded buckets to end the first quarter at 18-11, Sayre junior Dom Fabbri drained a 3-pointer to start the second quarter and trim the deficit to 18-14.
Babcock then blocked a shot on the defensive end, and then finished off the fast break on the other end. Moments later, junior Nalen Carling scored in transition to make it 22-14.
Sophomore Jackson Hubbard scored on the offensive boards for the Redskins to spark a 7-0 spurt that was capped by senior Connor Young’s putback to trim the Athens lead to 22-21 with 2:31 remaining int he first half.
After a defensive stop, the Redskins had a chance to take the lead, but missed an open jumper. Athens junior Troy Pritchard rebounded the miss, and found junior Tucker Brown open downcourt with a baseball pass for an easy lay-up to make it 24-21.
Junior Shane Reid scored with 1.2 seconds remaining to give Athens a 28-23 halftime advantage.
Shaw took note of the play of Hubbard and Young.
“You need guys to be able to come of the bench and play a role, do their job when their number is called,” said Shaw. “(Jackson Hubbard) gave us a spark, and helped keep us in the ball game.
“And, Connor (Young) did a great job in the post,” added Shaw. “He’s getting better every day.”
The Redskins held Athens scoreless for nearly four minutes to start the second half, and again trimmed the deficit to one point, at 28-27, but Reid’s runner in the lane with 4:07 sparked a 6-0 spurt that ignited the decisive run.
Young scored from point-blank range with 1 second remaining in the third quarter, but Pritchard and Lister scored buckets in the first minute of the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 38-29 lead.
After Sayre senior Matt Lane knocked down a 3-pointer, the Wildcats used an 8-2 spurt that featured a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays by Brown to stretch their lead to 46-34 with 4:12 left in the game.
The Redskins had one final run in them as Fabbri made four consecutive free throws, and Lane added two to trim the Athens lead to 46-40 with 2:37 left in the game.
On Athens’ ensuing possession, Babcock popped open in the paint on an in-bounds play under the bucket for an easy score with 1:57 left in the game to make it 48-40.
After Sayre made 1 of 2 free throws 12 seconds later, Athens put the game away, scoring the final six points of the game.
Lister was pleased with the win, but notes there’s is room for improvement.
“I would just like to see us attack the basket a little bit more,” he said. “We just need to be more efficient on offense, and a little bit sharper, and attack the rim.
“Was it a perfect game? No, we still have to work on getting better,” added Lister. “This league is way too good, you just can’t take a night off.”
Babcock led Athens with 18 points, four rebounds, six assists, and four blocks, while Carling had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Pritchard added with points, three rebounds and three assists.
Brown had eight points and two steals in the win, while Lister had four points, four rebounds, and five assists, and Reid chipped in with four points and five boards.
Fabbri led Sayre with 12 points, while Young posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, Hubbard added nine points and five rebounds, and Lane chipped in with five points.
Athens improves to 4-2, and has won three straight, while Sayre falls to 1-3, and has lost three in a row.
Shaw remains positive despite the losses.
“They were all winnable basketball games,” he said. “Obviously, Athens is a good team, but we’re still competing.”
Athens returns to action Wednesday when it hosts North Penn-Mansfield, while Sayre hosts Cowanesque Valley.
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.
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.”
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
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.
ATHENS — Athens dropped a pair of decisions this week, including a
double-overtime heartbreaker Friday night, in NTL junior varsity boys
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.
TROY — In a physical, foul-plagued game Athens came up short against
Troy, dropping a 70-53 decision, in NTL Large School boys’ basketball
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.
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.
MOUNT CARMEL — Mount Carmel took immediate control with a 24-4
first-quarter blitz, and cruised to a 61-19 win over Athens here Monday
night in non-league junior varsity boys basketball action.
The Red Tornadoes pulled away in the second quarter with a 24-7 run that gave them a 48-11 lead at the half.
Chris Mitchell led Athens with seven points, while Connor Mosher and Carson Smith added five points apiece, with each knocking down one 3-pointer.
Athens, now 1-1, returns to action Wednesday at Troy.
TIOGA JUNCTION, Pa. — Athens took control from the outset with a 21-4
game-opening run en route to an 88-33 season-opening win over Williamson
here Saturday afternoon in NTL Large School boys basketball action.
The win was the first for rookie Wildcat head coach Jim Lister.
“I was a little bit nervous starting off the day, even though I was telling everyone I wasn’t,” he laughed. “I just wanted to get this first one behind us.
“I was thrilled for the kids today. They’ve been put on pause too long,” Lister noted. “They were ready to go, and I was real happy for them.
“It was a good day overall, and it’s a good way to start the season,” added Lister.
Sophomore Mason Lister triggered the game-opening run with a 3-pointer just 20 seconds into the contest, and sophomore Carson Smith capped it with a 3-pointer with 1:20 remaining in the first quarter.
In between, J.J. Babcock scored eight points. He finished the scoring in the opening stanza to give the Wildcats a 23-8 lead.
Lister said his team accomplished what it set out to do.
“Everything we preached all week, the kids played out in the game plan today,” he said. “It worked out well.
“We’ve been preaching playing good defense and playing as a team. I thought we played really well today,” noted Lister. “The team defense was excellent, there were a lot of steals, a lot of turnovers, and a lot of lay-ups.”
The Wildcats, who scored the first five points in the contest and never trailed, recorded 25 assists to just 14 turnovers.
Lister and Babcock scored nine points apiece in the second quarter to fuel a 26-9 run that extended the Wildcat lead to 49-17 at the halftime intermission.
Lister went to his bench in the second half, and it responded.
Smith drained a trio of 3-pointers, junior Nalen Carling added eight points, and sophomore Chris Mitchell scored his first six varsity points as Athens outscored the Warriors, 39-16, over the final 16 minutes.
“Our guys of the bench played well,” said Lister. “They moved the ball well.
“In practice all week, those guys were playing against the starters, running a lot of the same plays — a lot of the same offenses,” noted Lister. “And, of course, when you’re playing against kids who are just as good as you are, if not better, it makes you better.
“They had their opportunity today and took advantage of it, which is great,” he added.
Babcock, who made 12 of 17 shots from the field, led the Wildcats with 25 points, to go along with four assists and three rebounds, and Lister pumped in 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and grabbed five boards.
Smith scored 12 points on four 3-pointers for the Wildcats, while junior Tucker Brown contributed nine points, six steals, four assists, and four rebounds, Carling had eight points and a team-high seven rebounds, and Mitchell chipped in with six points and four boards.
Junior Shayne Reid had four points, four assists, and six steals in the win, and junior Troy Pritchard had four points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Jacob Schmitt led Williamson with 11 points and Kristian Mizdail added eight.
Athens returns to action Monday at Mount Carmel.
ATHENS — First-year boys basketball coach Jim Lister believes Athens has all the ingredients for a successful 2021 season.
“I think we have a little bit of everything,” he said. “We have guards who can handle the ball, we have kids who can score, and we have size in the paint.
“We have all the right tools, we just have to put it together,” noted Lister.
“I keep telling our guys: “if we play defense, make lay-ups, and make foul shots, we should win basketball games,’” added Lister.
Juniors Shayne Reid and Tucker Brown will start at guard, with 6-4 sophomore Mason Lister getting the nod at small forward, 6-1 junior Troy Pritchard starting at power forward, and 6-5 junior J.J. Babcock manning the center spot.
Lister expects 6-4 junior Nalen Carling, 6-6 senior Griffen Stein, senior James Benninger-Jones, and sophomore guard Carson Smith to see plenty of time off the bench.
Junior Ryan Thompson, sophomore Chris Mitchell, senior John Smith, and freshman Korey Miller will also vie for time.
Lister cites team unity as a strength in 2021.
“I think the team attitude and the team play is the biggest strength for this team,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of good communication the last week … these kids have played together for years, so they know one another.
“I think we lost a little of that last year,” noted Lister. “We didn’t have it at certain times and it cost us. When we got beat at Northeast, we didn’t play team basketball, and that was a game-changer for us.
“We had a big meeting after that game … we talked about being a team, and we went on a seven or eight-game run after that,” Lister added. “I think that proved to the kids how we need to play this game.”
Lister also expects the balance, versatility and depth of his roster to be a big strength.
“I think you can expect a lot of team basketball, and not one individual that you have to stop. You’re going to have to stop five guys,” he said.
“I can put a solid eight or nine on the floor at all times, and I can move them around and play them at different positions,” noted Lister. “I won’t be too concerned about foul trouble this year.
“Playing with these masks is another situation we’re going to have to deal with,” he added. “I think it’s going to be an issue for everybody, having a bench is going to be a key for everyone. Kids are going to get tired in a hurry, especially if you play any type of pressure defense.”
While not a concern, Lister knows his team will have to play defense.
“We need to play defense to be successful,” he said. “I think we can score points, and I think we can push the ball and make things very difficult on opposing defenses, but we will need to get back and play defense.
“Some times when you have a high-scoring team, they may give up a little bit on the defensive end of the floor,” added Lister. “We can’t afford to play that way.”
Lister knows he has one of the better players in the league in Babcock, and also knows the remainder of the starting five are known commodities around the league. He believes Carling and Benninger-Jones could open some eyes.
“Nalen Carling has grown … he loves the paint, he loves to rebound, and he has a really good work ethic,” said Lister.
“Nalen has the ability to shoot threes, he loves to pound underneath in the paint, and he can run the floor,” noted Lister. “I think he’s definitely going to surprise some people.
“James Benninger-Jones didn’t play last year, but he’s come out this year and really opened my eyes,” added Lister. “He does a lot of good things, and I think he’ll contribute a lot to this team.”
AROUND THE NTL
“I expect a very competitive league. I think we’ll have to be at our best every night to win,” said Lister.
Large School Division
“Troy is going to be tough. Ty Barrett is just an excellent basketball player,” noted Lister. “And, Wellsboro and Mansfield are always good.”
Small School Division
“Even without (Ben) Knapp, Canton is going to be a good basketball team.
“Northeast Bradford had our number last year, so we won’t take them lightly in any way, shape or form,” said Lister.
“And, I know all the Sayre kids,” added Lister. “They are loaded with athletes, and should battle with everyone.”
Athens opens the 2021 campaign this afternoon at Williamson.