SAYRE - After a close opening-round win over Waverly, Athens wanted to
set the tone early against Towanda in the Valley Christmas Tournament
boys' basketball championship game on Thursday. And they did that, and
more, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first four minutes and never
looking back en route to their 69-36 win over the Knights.
"It's awesome," Athens coach Jim Lister remarked. "You know, this was our first goal of the year, we wanted to come out and play well, and win this Christmas Tournament, and we accomplished that, so we're thrilled."
They led 25-6 after the opening quarter, though in the second Towanda would cut it to a 12-point deficit. However, Athens used another 25-point third quarter to pull away for the win.
"We played a great first quarter today, I was really happy with the way they played," said Lister. "They kind of got a little bit lackadaisical in the second, but they came out, and got it done in the third."
J.J. Babcock had 22 points, two steals, three boards, and two dunks to lead the Wildcats.
"It feels great, one last ride with my brothers; it just feels good all around," remarked Babcock. "We just came out really intense. We wanted this one more than anything, and we knew Towanda was going to bring it, but we had to bring it more."
Ten different players scored for Athens as 12 Wildcats saw the court in all, especially a lot of the younger players.
TOWANDA - Athens raced out to a quick double-digit lead, and cruised to a
47-18 win over Towanda here Wednesday afternoon in the championship
game of the junior varsity boys Valley Christmas Tournament.
Chris Mitchell pumped in 10 points, while Xavier Watson and Matt Aquilio added four points apiece to fuel a 21-4 blitz in the opening stanza.
The two teams played even in the second quarter, thanks to a pair of buckets by Noah Hobday, and the junior Wildcats led 27-10 at the half.
Five different Athens players put their names in the scoring column in the third quarter in a 10-run that extended the lead to 37-10. Eleven of Athens' 13 players on the roster scored in the win.
Mitchell led Athens with 12 points, while Aquilio scored 10 points, Watson chipped in with four points and one blocked shot, and Kolsen Keathley four points and four rebounds.
Jase Babcock added four points and two assists in the win, while Hobday had four points and three steals, Peter Jones recorded seven boards and three steals, and Korey Miller dished out five assists and had three steals.
WAVERLY— Athens used a 10-0 run that bridged the final two quarters to
take the lead, then held off Waverly down the stretch for a 61-53 win
here Tuesday night in the opening round of the annual boys Valley
Christmas Basketball Tournament.
"It was an unbelievable game— both ways, these kids just battled," said Athens coach Jim Lister. "They've known each other forever, and I knew it was going to be a war tonight.
"Coach Judson is such a good basketball coach, I knew he's had his kids ready to go, and we would have to play great basketball to win this game.
"Our first goal for this season was to win the Christmas Tournament, so this puts us in position to do that Thursday night," added Lister.
"I'm proud of the guys," said Waverly coach Lou Judson. "You look at a team like (Athens) and the size they have, and the talent they have, you would think that they should be able to handle us.
"These guys fought all the way to the end, and we had opportunities to win that basketball game several times tonight," noted Judson. "But, at key moments of the game, we did not do the things basketball teams need to do to win games; that's the bottom line.
"We had too many wasted possessions," added Judson.
Despite the miscues, Judson was pleased with his team's performance.
"Elite teams find ways to win that basketball game "¦ we committed too many costly turnovers and were sloppy with the ball, maybe trying to do a little too much, but give credit to their defense," he said. "Athens is long and athletic, and they force you a long way away from the basket.
"We executed what we wanted to do tonight, but what are you going to do?" added Judson. "(Athens) is a good basketball team."
Waverly came out of the gate hot, with sophomore Joey Tomasso and senior Brennan Traub knocking down 3-pointers to give the Wolverines a 6-1 lead, which it stretched to 12-5 with 2:44 remaining in the first quarter.
The Wildcats closed the opening stanza with a 10-5 spurt, fueled by a 3-pointer and a driving lay-up by junior Mason Lister, to trim the deficit to 16-15.
Tomasso opened the second quarter with a deep 3-pointer to make it 19-15, but Lister buried a 3-pointer from the corner to trigger a 9-0 run that put Athens up 24-19 with 5:47 remaining in the first half.
Brennan Traub answered with five points— the first bucket off a nifty feed from Tomasso, and the second a deep 3-pointer— to tie the game at 24-24 midway through the second quarter.
Lister connected for a pair of buckets, sandwiched around a pair of free throws by junior Chris Mitchell, to give the Wildcats a 30-24 lead with 2:01 remaining in the first half.
Waverly closed the gap to 30-28, but Mitchell made a free throw, and scored on a lay-up off a bullet pass into the low block from senior J.J. Babcock with 34 seconds left in the half to put the Wildcats up 33-28 at the intermission.
Lister scored 18 of his team-high 21 points in the first half, and also had nine rebounds, while Mitchell scored all five of his points in the second quarter.
"(Mason) was focused tonight, I'm super-proud of him," said coach Lister. "He was shooting well, pounding the boards, and looking down the court "¦ I was just thrilled with his game tonight, it was just terrific.
"And what about Chris Mitchell," added Lister. "He's working hard every day in practice "¦ he's putting in the time, and it paid off tonight. I'm just thrilled with his game tonight."
Athens stretched its lead to seven points, at 35-28, on a bucket by Babcock in the opening moments of the third quarter, but a 3-pointer and a bucket in transition by Brennan Traub trimmed the gap to 35-33 with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Senior Tucker Brown answered with a 3-pointer, and Babcock added a free throw with 4:15 remaining to make it 39-33, but senior Brady Blauvelt canned a trey, and Brennan Traub converted a steal into a lay-up to close the gap to 39-38 with 3:36 left in the third.
After a free throw by Lister, Tomasso scored on a driving lay-up to tie the game, and Brennan Traub buried another 3-pointer to give Waverly a 43-40 lead with 41 seconds remaining. Moments later, Brown made a pair of free throws to trim the lead to 43-42 entering the final eight minutes.
Brown turned a steal into a lay-up just 25 seconds into the fourth quarter to give Athens the lead for good at 44-43, then Lister, Babcock, and freshman Kolsen Keathley, off a beautiful bounce pass to the low blocks from Lister, added buckets to make it 50-43 with 4:04 remaining in the game.
Tomasso drained a runner and a 3-pointer, sandwiched around a pair of free throws by Athens senior Nalen Carling, to close the gap to 52-48 with 2:58 remaining.
After Athens missed the front end of a one-and-one, Brennan Traub scored on a short jumper to cut the deficit to 52-50 with 1:42 left in the contest, but the Wildcats closed the game with a 9-3 spurt.
After a bucket by senior Troy Pritchard in the low post made it 54-50, Babcock hauled down a defensive rebound and fired a full-court outlet pass to Brown for a lay-up with 48 seconds remaining to make it 56-50.
Brennan Traub kept Waverly's hopes alive with his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 26 seconds remaining, but Babcock made 3 of 4 free throws, and Carling was 2 of 2 in the final 16.6 seconds to seal the win.
The Wildcats finished the game with 11 assists in 20 total field goals.
"We passed the ball very well," said Lister. "It's something we've been working on since we started in November "¦ our half-court offense.
"We struggled with that last year," he noted. "We put a lot of offenses in this year, and we've spent a lot of time in practice working on it, and I think it's starting to pay off.
"Transition has been our game," Lister added. "We have no problem running up and down the court, we'll run up and down the court with anybody, but now we have both, and it's working."
Brown had 14 points, six steals, and four assists for the Wildcats, while Babcock added 12 points and nine rebounds, Carling chipped in with five points and three steals, and Pritchard grabbed three rebounds.
Brennan Traub led Waverly with 23 points, three rebounds, and two steals, while Tomasso added 20 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and six rebounds
"Those two have predominantly been our scoring this year," said Judson. "I thought they both played well.
"We just need more scoring out of a third guy— consistently, which I think is going to come," he added.
Liam Traub chipped in with four points and one blocked shot, and senior Davis Croft recorded seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots for the Wolverines, while Blauvelt had three rebounds and two steals, and junior Nate DeLill grabbed three boards.
ATHENS - Athens scored 15 points in a row in a run that bridged the
halftime intermission to blow open a close game on its way to a 67-28
win over Sayre here Thursday night in NTL boys basketball action.
The Wildcats led 19-16 with 2 minutes remaining in the second quarter, but closed out the first half with a 6-0 spurt to take a 25-16 lead at the half.
Athens opened the second with a 9-0 run to extend its lead to 34-16, and ended up outscoring the Redskins 42-12 in the second half.
"I think (Sayre's) game plan was to slow everything down," said Athens coach Jim Lister. "They wanted to slow the game down, and I think they did that in the first half, and that was good coaching on Coach (Devin) Shaw's part.
"We made some halftime adjustments, and came out in half-court press, and made them push the ball. We need to pick up the pace of the game," added Lister. "We forced a bunch of turnovers, got a bunch of lay-ups, and ran way with it."
"Credit to Athens, they are a good basketball team and they play well together," said Sayre coach Devin Shaw.
"We did a good job in the first half against their 3-2 zone," he noted. "We took care of the ball and got some good shots. Defensively in first half, we slowed them down a little and they didn't get the easy buckets that they did in the second half.
"In the second half, we came out flat and turned the ball over which lead to easy points and kind of put our heads down," added Shaw. "We need to be stronger with the ball and stay positive. I need to do a better job coaching that in practice."
Both team spread the ball around in the first quarter, and Athens led 13-10 after the first eight minutes.
Senior J.J. Babcock scored a pair of buckets in the opening 90 seconds of the second quarter to give the Wildcats a 17-10 lead, but junior Jackson Hubbard's old-fashioned three-point play trimmed the deficit to 17-13.
After a bucket by Lister, Sayre senior Josh Arnold canned a 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining in the second quarter to pull the Redskins with three points, at 19-16. Sayre wouldn't score again for more than four minutes.
Seniors Troy Pritchard, and Nalen Carling and Babcock closed out the second quarter with buckets to give the Wildcats a 25-16 lead at the half.
Senior Tucker Brown buried a 3-pointer on Athens' first possession of the second half, Brown and Carling turned Sayre miscues into lay-up in the next 35 seconds to extend the Athens lead to 32-16.
Babcock capped the 15-0 run with a steal and uncontested lay-up to make it 34-16 with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Senior Cayden Firestine ended Sayre drought with a pair of free throws, but Athens scored the next 11 points to take a 45-18 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Senior Dom Fabbri's 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining left the Redskins trailing 45-21 entering the final eight minutes.
Junior Carson Smith knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, and senior Ryan Thompson added five points to fuel a 22-7 game-closing run for the Wildcats.
Babcock led Athens with 19 points, six rebound, six assists, and seven steals, while Brown scored 13 points, Carling had 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists, and Lister added six points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Smith scored six points in the win, while Pritchard had four points and five boards, and Thompson had five points and four rebounds.
Jackson led Sayre with 11 points, Fabbri added eight, and Firestine chipped in with four.
Athens, now 4-1, returns to action Tuesday at Waverly in the opening round of the Valley Christmas Tournament, while Sayre (2-2) hosts Towanda in the other opening-round game.
ATHENS — Athens used balanced scoring, and an 11-0 second-quarter run
to pull away from Sayre for a 41-15 win here Thursday evening in NTL
junior varsity boys basketball action.
Xavier Watson knocked down a 3-pointer and scored five points to help Athens to a 9-6 lead after the first eight minutes.
Five different Wildcats scored in the second quarter in an 11-0 blitz that pushed the lead to 20-6 at the half.
Nicholas Jacob drained a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Connor Mosher added a rely to fuel a 15-4 run that gave the Wildcats a 35-10 lead entering the final eight minutes.
Watson led Athens with nine points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots, and Mosher and Jacob scored seven and six points, respectively, and Chris Mitchell had five points and three boards.
Korey Miller had four, three rebounds, three assists, and five steals in the win, while Kolsen Keathley had four points, four rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot, Jase Babcock chipped in with four points, Peter Jones recorded five steals, and Noah Hobday chipped in with three steals.
Zack Senese led Sayre with seven points, and Wesley Kelsey added five.
Athens travels to Waverly Tuesday afternoon for the opening round of the annual Valley Christmas Tournament, while Sayre hosts Towanda.
CANTON — Athens built an eight-point cushion at the half, then limited
Canton to just 13 points in the second half on its way to a convincing,
66-46, win here Saturday night in a key early-season NTL boys basketball
"I am very pleased with the entire team's effort - everyone contributed," said Athens coach Jim Lister. "Our bench was outstanding.
"Defensively, I thought we played very well, especially in the second half," noted Lister."Tucker Brown's quick hands created a lot of deflection and turnovers.
"We need to continue to do that to be successful," added Lister.
Senior Nalen Carling scored 15 points and grabbed three boards, and junior Mason Lister had 15 points and three assists to lead the Wildcats.
Senior Troy Pritchard scored 11 points in the win, while senior J.J. Babcock had eight points, nine assists, and three blocked shots, senior Tucker Brown added eight points, and junior Chris Mitchell chipped in with five points.
"Offensively, everyone contributed, which is what we want," said Lister.
"The birthday boy Nalen Carling was terrific," noted Lister. "Troy (Pritchard's) posts moves underneath were just fun to watch.
"Mason Lister is getting smoother and more comfortable by the game and J.J. is becoming the complete player," added Lister.
The Wildcats jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on a bucket Pritchard, a conventional three-point play by Carling, and a bucket by Lister, off a feed from Babcock, but Canton answered with seven straight points to tie the game.
Brown put Athens back in front with an old-fashioned three-point play, and Lister made the Warriors pay for a turnover with a 3-point bomb to give Athens a 13-7 lead.
Carling turned another Canton turnover into a lay-up yo give the Wildcats an eight-point lead, at 15-7 with 1:45 left in the first quarter.
Canton closed the gap to two points, at 18-16, but Mitchell knocked down a pair of free throws in the closing moments of the opening stanza to give the Wildcats a 20-16 lead.
Babcock scored a pair of buckets to start the second quarter, pushing the Athens lead to 24-16, but Canton answered with seven straight points to close the gap to one, at 24-23.
The game of runs continued as the Wildcats scored eight straight points to take its biggest lead to that point, at 32-23. Pritchard scored five of the eight points.
After a bucket by Canton stopped the run, Lister canned a 3-pointer to give Athens a 35-25 lead with 2:50 remaining in the half.
The Athens lead ranged from six to 10 points until midway through the third quarter, when a 12-2 spurt that bridged the final two quarter extended the Wildcat lead to 56-37 with 7:09 remaining in the game.
Carling sparked the run with a break-away lay-up, and Brown's three-point play made it 49-37. Mitchell's bucket, off a feed from freshman Kolsen Keathley, gave the Wildcats a 51-37 lead entering the final eight minutes.
Lister opened the fourth quarter with a steal and a lay-up, then capped the run with an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 56-37.
The Warriors closed the gap to 15, at 56-41, midway through the final stanza, but never got any closer as buckets by Babcock, Brown, and Pritchard gave the Wildcats a 21-point lead, at 64-43 with 56 seconds remaining in the contest.
Isaiah Niemczyk led Canton with 18 points "”16 of them in the first half, while Caiden Williams netted 10, and Cooper Kitchen added nine.
Athens, now 3-1, hosts Sayre Thursday night.
ATHENS — Athens used a 20-1 run to start the second quarter to build a
21-point halftime cushion en route to a 53-21 win over Northeast
Bradford here Thursday night in NTL boys basketball action.
Senior J.J. Babcock canned a 3-pointer in the second minute of the game to give the Wildcats a lead, at 5-4, they would never relinquish.
Dan Seeley, who scored all eight of NEB's points in the first quarter, scored with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter to trim Athens' lead to 7-6, but the Wildcats scored the next five points on a bucket by Babcock, and three points by senior Nalen Carling, to take a 12-6 lead.
Seeley scored in the final seconds of the opening stanza to pull the Panthers within 12-8, but they wouldn't make another field goal for seven minutes.
Junior Mason Lister scored a pair of buckets, sandwich around a driving lay-up by Babcock to make it 18-8 with 6:45 remaining in the first half.
After a free throw by Seeley, Carson Smith knocked down a 3-pointer to trigger an 14-0 spurt that ended with old-fashioned three-point plays by Carling and senior Troy Pritchard, and a 3-pointer by Babcock to make it 32-9.
After a bucket by Seeley, Babcock scored a pair of buckets in the final 20 seconds of the first half to give the Wildcats a 36-11 lead.
Senior Ryan Thompson canned a 3-pointer in the closing moments of the third quarter to give Athens a 49-15 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Thompson's bucket with 2 minutes left in the game gave Athens its biggest lead of the contest, at 53-18.
Babcock, who made 7 of his 11 shots from the field, led Athens with 16 points, four assists, and three rebounds, while Lister scored 12 points, and Carling had eight points, nine rebounds, and three steals.
Pritchard had five points for the Wildcats, while Thompson had five points and three rebounds, senior Tucker Brown had four rebounds, four assists, and three steals, freshman Kolsen Keathley blocked two shots, and junior Lucas Kraft chipped in with three steals.
Seeley led NEB with 11 points - all in the first half.
Athens, now 2-1, returns to action Saturday at Canton.
ATHENS — Junior J.J. Babcock and sophomore Mason Lister were named NTL
Large School Division first-team all-stars, while juniors Tucker Brown
and Nalen Carling were second-team selections by the league’s coaches.
Troy junior Ty Barrett was named the NTL “Player of the Year,” while North Penn-Liberty’s Noah Spencer was voted the “Offensive Player of the Year,” Wyalusing’s Mitchell Burke was named the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and North Penn-Mansfield’s Curtis Craig was tabbed the “Sixth Man of the Year.”
North Penn-Liberty’s Brian Litzelman and his coaching staff was voted “Coaching Staff of the Year.”
J.J. Babcock, junior, Athens: A versatile 6-5 swingman, Babcock could score in transition, from the perimeter, and in the low blocks.
He led the Wildcats in scoring at 14.8 points per game, while shooting 48.5 percent from the field. He also led the team with 24 blocked shots and 61 deflections.
Babcock was second on the team at 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, as well as 38 steals, and 14 3-pointers.
Mason Lister, sophomore, Athens: At 6-4, Lister was a standout on both ends of the court for the Wildcats. He led the team in assists (4 per game), steals (49), and 3-pointers (30).
Lister was second on the team at 10.8 points per game, and averaged 4.8 rebounds per game.
Also named to the first team were Troy’s Mason Imbt and Ethan Vannoy, and Wellsboro’s Liam Manning and Darryn Callahan.
Tucker Brown, junior, Athens: One of the premier defenders in the league, Brown was a much-improved player on the offensive end of the floor.
Brown averaged 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 15 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field, and 70.8 from the free-throw line.
Nalen Carling, junior, Athens: Long and athletic, Carling was a big contributor in his first season at Athens.
Carling averaged 9 points, a team-high 6.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1 steal per game. He shot a team-best 49.1 percent from the field, and also led the team with a 71.9 percentage from the free-throw line.
Also named to the second team were North Penn-Mansfield’s Karson Dominick and Alex Stein, Troy’s Jake Deitrick, and Wellsboro’s Connor Adams.
DANVILLE — Dante
Harward and Jagger Dressler combined for 40 first-half points to lead
Danville in an 86-39 win over Athens here Tuesday in the semifinals of
the District 4, Class AAAA boys basketball playoffs.
First-year Athens coach Jim Lister could do nothing but praise Danville’s senior-laden team, which improves to 15-1 on the season, after the win.
“(Danville) is just a tremendous basketball team,” he said. “I told the kids when we came out here tonight, that we would have to play A-plus basketball.
“On film, they are just terrific, and they are just as good in person.
“There isn’t a superstar on that team, there are just five really good basketball players,” noted Lister. “They play great team basketball, they move well, and when they get looks, they bury the shots.
“They have a great shot at winning the strict title on Saturday,” he added.
Harward pumped in a trio of 3-pointers and scored 13 points in the first quarter, and Dressler added seven points to help the Ironmen to a 24-8 lead after the first eight minutes.
Danville jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, but buckets by junior Troy Pritchard and sophomore Mason Lister, sandwiched around a score by K.J. Riley trimmed the deficit to 9-6, but the Ironmen took control with a 13-0 run to take a 22-6 lead.
Harward canned two more 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the second quarter, and Dressler added nine points, including a 3-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play, as Danville outscored Athens 26-17 to take a 50-25 lead at the intermission.
The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to 12 points on a couple occasions in the second quarter, the last being at 29-17, but the Ironmen used a 16-2 blitz to blow the game open and take a 47-19 lead with 1:35 left in the first half.
Lister said his defense had no answers for the Ironmen.
“We came out trying to play man-to-man defense,” he said. “They screened well, and they don’t need much room to bury the shots, so they were running off their screens well, and they ran their offense well.
“Some of the shots were contested, and they still made them.
“It’s just a good basketball team,” added Lister. “They are solid fundamentally, and they took it to us.”
Lister also noted his team didn’t adjust to the physicality of the game.
“(Danville) plays very good defense,” he said. “They are right in your grill, and their hands are busy.
“And (the officials) let you play down here,” noted Lister. “You get away with a lot more here the you do (in the NTL); and that’s something we have to get use to.
“I told the kids at the beginning, ‘you can’t let their physicality get in your head. You have to play the game the same way,’” added Lister. “Maybe it did get in our head a little bit.”
Junior J.J. Babcock scored 15 of the Wildcats’ 25 points in the first half, including 13 points int he second quarter.
After trading buckets for the opening minute of the second half, Danville scored 11 straight points to take a 63-31 lead with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
Babcock led Athens with 16 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, four rebounds, and two steals, while Pritchard scored nine points, Brown added six points, and Lister had five assists and three boards.
Harward led Danville with 33 points and six 3-pointers, while Dressler had 31 points and three 3-pointers, and Riley and Brady Hills added seven points apiece.
The Wildcats end the season at 14-10. They lose just two seniors — Jon Smith and James Benninger-Jones, but Lister said they will be missed.
“Our two seniors are great role models for us,” said Lister.
“They knew their roles this year,” he noted. “They came to every practice, and they busted their ass every single night. They worked hard to make us better.
“I’m real proud of our seniors,” added Lister. “They are a pleasure to be around, they’re great kids, and I’m positive they will do very well in life.”
LEWISBURG — Fifth-seeded Athens scored the first seven points of the
game, and never led by fewer than four points the remainder of the game
in a 55-41 win over fourth-seeded Lewisburg here Friday night in the
quarterfinals of the District 4, Class AAAA boys basketball playoffs.
This is the second straight year, Athens has knocked off Lewisburg on its home court in the opening round of the District 4 playoffs. Last year, head coach Jim Lister was an Wildcat assistant coach.
“This feels good,” said Lister. “It was a great experience winning here last year, but as the head coach it’s even better.
“It’s great to come down here and get a big win with these kids,” added Lister. “I’ve been with these kids for a long time. I’ve grown up with them. I love to see them succeed and do well.”
The Wildcats led 9-5 after the first eight minutes, and extended their lead to 21-9 at the half. The Green Dragons never got closer than seven points in the second half.
First-year Athens coach Jim Lister said his team continues to play good defense.
“Defense was obviously the key tonight,” he said. “You have to play good defense to win games like this.
“We’re young, long, and athletic. When we keep our hands busy, we make it difficult on teams. I think we did that tonight.
“I’m real happy for these kids, they played great defense tonight. We gave up nine points in the first half, that’s fantastic,” added Lister. “The guys played hard … I’d say we played almost a full four quarters tonight.”
The Wildcats had chances throughout the first half to extend the lead, but did little until a 7-0 spurt in the final 1:47 pushed the lead from 14-9 to 21-9.
“I’m still not 100-percent happy with how we’re scoring,” said Lister. “I think we can score better. I think we could have put 75 or 80 points on the board tonight.
“You have to make the easy one … we have to make those shots,” he noted. “Early on, I think the kids were really just amped up, and were missing the easy ones, bus as I think back on the season, we’ve had that problem all year, so we have to continue to try to fix that.”
Leading 14-9, junior Troy Pritchard gave Athens a 16-9 lead with a putback on the offensive boards with 1:47 remaining in the first half.
After a defensive stop, senior James Benninger-Jones buried a 3-pointer from the wing to make it 19-9 with 1:16 left in the half.
Junior J.J. Babcock finished off the first-half scoring with 18 seconds remaining to make it 21-9 heading into the halftime locker room.
Pritchard scored on a nifty low-post move in the opening moments of the third quarter to make it 23-9, but Lewisburg used a 10-3 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer by Kevin Magyar, over the next four minutes to trim the deficit to 26-19.
Lister answered Magyar’s 3-pointer with one of his own to make it 29-19 with 3:23 left in the third quarter, then on the next trip down the floor knocked down another shot from behind the arc to make it 32-20.
Forest Zeledoski scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer, for the Green Dragons to cut the Athens lead to 32-25 with 1:00 minute remaining in the third quarter.
Junior Tucker Brown answered with 23 seconds remaining, but Lewisburg’s Joey Martin scored in the low blocks with 3 seconds left to close the gap to 34-27 entering the final eight minutes.
Junior Nalen Carling and Lister opened the fourth-quarter scoring with buckets in transition to give the Wildcats a 38-27 lead, and the closest Lewisburg would get the remainder of the game was eight points.
The Wildcats out-rebounded the Green Dragons, 44-23, in the contest, and allowed just six offensive rebounds in the entire game — and just one in the second half.
“We talked about rebounding at halftime,” said Lister. “We needed to pound the boards, and not give up any second-chance points.
“I told the guys when the shot went up, we needed to find someone and box them out,” he added. “I think we did that, especially in the second half.”
Athens was also much more efficient offensively in the second half.
“It was an adjustment we made at halftime,” said Lister. “We wanted to slow up our offense … we needed to run our offense, and get some good looks. We got those good looks, and we made those shots.”
Lister led Athens with 18 points, including a trio of 3-poiners, 10 rebounds, five assists, five steals, and one blocked shot, while Pritchard had 11 points and four boards, and Carling had nine points, four rebounds, and one blocked shot.
Brown added six points, three boards, and two blocked shots in the win, while Babcock chipped in with five points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and one blocked shot, and sophomore Chris Mitchell added five boards and two steals.
Zeledoski led Lewisburg with 11 points and Cam Michaels added nine.
Athens, now 14-9, returns to action Tuesday at top-seeded Danville, which rolled to a 79-30 win over eighth-seeded Midd-West Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.
ATHENS — Junior Ty Barrett’s driving lay-up with 2.4 seconds remaining
lifted Troy to a 60-58 win over Athens here Wednesday night in NTL Large
School boys basketball action.
“Ty is a special basketball player,” said Troy coach Steve Renzi. “When the game is on the line, we can depend on Ty (Barrett) to get to the rack.”
Athens coach Jim Lister pointed to his team’s fourth-quarter performance at the free-throw line (1-for-6) after the loss.
“You have to make your foul shots at the end of the game when you’re tired; that’s the key.
“We had them in double-bonus, and we missed five foul shots at the end of the game,” said Lister. “We make those foul shots, we win the game.
“It’s the little things, we need to make lay-up, make foul shots, and play defense,” he added.
The Trojan win, however, wasn’t all Barrett, who was held to 19 points — about seven points below his season average. Jake Deitrick scored a season-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Mason Imbt had 10 points and 12 boards.
“We challenged our big guys to be better tonight,” said Renzi. “We go as our big guys go.
“They came out in the second half, and really pounded the boards.
“Jake Dietrick played the best game he’s played all year, and Mason Imbt played his best game of the year,” Renzi noted.
“Usually, you see the box score is a little lopsided, with our guards getting all the points, and our big guys not producing much, but tonight was pretty much opposite,” he added.
Lister said his team executed the game plan.
“When we played Troy the first time, we were in a box-and-one on Ty Barrett, and Tucker Brown did a really nice job,” said Lister. “He held him to seven points in the first half.
“But where Troy got us was (Ethan) VanNoy in the corner. He killed us from three-point land,” noted Lister. “Tonight, I wanted to take a different approach. I put Mason (Lister) on VanNoy, and he didn’t score many points.
“The game plan was to meet them at half court, play defense, and make them earn every shot they got,” added Lister. “I think we did that.”
The teams traded scores over the first six minutes of the game, until Deitrick scored back-to-back buckets to give the Trojans an 11-9 lead with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter.
After a pair of free throws by Athens sophomore Chris Mitchell tied the game, Nick Williams scored his only bucket of the game with 6 seconds left in the first quarter to give Troy a 13-11 lead.
Ethan Vannoy came up with a steal and lay-up on the first possession of the second quarter to give the Trojans a 15-11 lead, but a pair of free throws and a bucket by 6-5 Wildcat junior J.J. Babcock tied the game at 15-15 with 6:48 remaining in the first half.
After Deitrick gave Troy a 17-15 lead with a nifty one-hander in the lane, Babcock drained a 3-pointer to spark a 9-2 Athens spurt that gave the Wildcats a 24-17 lead with 3:27 remaining in the first half.
Troy trimmed the deficit to 24-20, but Nalen Carling’s old-fashioned three-point play pushed the Athens advantage back to seven points, 27-20, with 2:48 left in the first half.
A 3-pointer by Barrett with 1:45 remaining made it 27-23, but junior Troy Pritchard made a free throw to push the Athens lead to 28-23 at the half.
The Wildcats maintained their lead, and pushed it to seven points, at 37-30, on a nice low-post bucket by Pritchard with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter, but a top-of-the-key 3-pointer by Zeb Oldroyd — his only bucket of the game — with 1:55 left capped an 8-0 spurt that gave the Trojans a 38-37 lead.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Babcock and junior Tucker Brown scored back-to-back buckets to give the Wildcats a 41-38 lead with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
A pair of Barrett free throws cut the deficit back to one point, but a driving baseline lay-up by Mason Lister with 5 seconds remaining gave Athens a 43-40 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
A spinning move in the lane resulted in a bucket by Pritchard in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, but he missed the free throw to make it a three-point play, and Athens led 45-40.
Moments later, Imbt scored on a putback and made the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play to trim the deficit 45-43.
Imbt and Deitrick then added putbacks on the offensive glass on consecutive trip down the floor for the Trojans, giving them a 47-45 lead with 6:35 remaining in the contest.
Babcock gave the Wildcats the lead back moments later on a fast-break lay-up and a free throw to make it 48-47 with 6:12 left in the game. It was Athens’ last lead of the contest.
Deitrick scored on an offensive rebound, then made two free throws after collecting an offensive rebound, giving the Trojans a 51-48 lead with 5:13 remaining.
Pritchard scored in the low blocks, thanks to a nice pump fake, but missed the free throw after being fouled on the shot.
A driving lay-in down the lane by Barrett with 4:13 remaining gave the Trojans a 53-50 lead.
Athens missed the front end of a one-and-one with 3:31 remaining, but a fast-break lay-up by Babcock, off a steal by Lister, trimmed the deficit to 53-52 just 26 seconds later.
A bucket by Deitrick, and a long 3-pointer by Vannoy gave the Trojans a 58-52 lead with 1:50 remaining.
Things seemed dire for the Wildcats moments later after a pair of missed free throws, but they turned up the defensive pressure and scored three quick buckets to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining.
Carling started the spurt with a steal and breakaway lay-up, then Brown scored on a putback of an errant lay-up in transition, and Babcock scored on a lay-up, off a long outlet pass on the break from Pritchard, to cap the 6-0 run.
Troy milked the clock into single-digits, then Barrett took the ball near the Troy bench, cut across the top of the key, and down the lane, kissing the ball off the glass for the game-winner.
After a time-out, a long in-bounds pass for Athens was batted away from Babcock, and the final horn sounded as the ball rolled out-of-bounds.
“The kids had a hell of an effort tonight. I think that’s the first time this season we’ve played four full quarters,” said Lister.
“I’m proud of the guys, they’ve played very well the last two games. I told them after the game, if they continue to play the way they did tonight, we’ll be right there in the end,” he added.
Carling led Athens with 17 points and six rebounds, while Babcock had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, and one blocked shot, Pritchard scored 11 points, Brown added eight points and six rebounds, and Lister chipped in with eight assists, three rebounds, and one blocked shot.
Athens, now 8-6, travels to Wellsboro Friday night.
ATHENS — Sophomore Ben Chilson put on a show here Monday night, knocking
down 12 3-pointers — nine in the first half — en route to a 50-point
performance in leading Tunkhannock to an 88-70 non-league boys
basketball win over Athens.
“I’m not unhappy in how we played tonight,” said Athens coach Jim Lister. “Normally, when you put up 70 points in high school basketball you win.
“Not tonight, though, because I watched one of the best shooting performances I have ever had the pleasure of watching,” noted Lister. “We contested every shot, but it didn’t matter.
“(Chilson) and his teammates just could not miss tonight,” Lister added.
Lister said this game, like the Wildcats’ other non-league contests, will benefit them in the long run.
“We will continue to keep playing these very good teams down south .. it's just going to make us better.”
Chilson, who connected on 12 of 18 shots from behind the arc, hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points in the first quarter, and his teammate Ryan Harder drained two 3-pointers to help the Tigers to a 25-14 lead after the first eight minutes.
The lead was nearly 14 points at the end of the first quarter, but Athens junior Shayne Reid’s shot from well behind the mid-court line found nothing-but-net at the buzzer.
Chilson, who also had a pair of big dunks in the game, scored 21 more points, including five 3-pointers, in the second quarter to give him 36 points in the first half. Tunkhannock outscored Athens 30-18 in the stanza to take a 55-32 lead into the halftime locker room.
Juniors Tucker Brown and Troy Pritchard scored six points apiece in the third quarter, and senior James Benninger-Jones and junior J.J. Babcock added 3-pointers for the Wildcats, but Ben Chilson countered with seven points, including two 3-pointers, and senior Jack Chilson scored five points, including his second trey of the game. Both teams scored 21 points in the third quarter, and the lead remained at 23 points, at 76-53, entering the final eight minutes.
Brown scored a career-high 19 points, and had six rebounds and three assists, while Pritchard had 14 points and three rebounds, Lister had 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists, and Benninger-Jones scored 10 points.
Babcock added seven points, eight rebounds, and seven assists for the Wildcats, and junior Nalen Carling chipped in with six points and seven boards.
Harder added 19 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and Jack Chilson chipped in with 10 points.
Tunkhannock shot 60 percent (18 of 30) from behind the 3-point arc.
LIBERTY — Noah Spencer poured in 34 points, including 16 points from the
free-throw line, to lead unbeaten North Penn-Liberty to a 79-59 win
over Athens here Saturday night in NTL boys basketball action.
The Mountaineers, now 7-0, shot 30 free throws (24 made) in the contest to the Wildcats’ 17 (12 made), and that fact was not lost on Athens coach Jim Lister.
“I am taking nothing away from (North Penn-Liberty) and Noah Spencer,” he said. “They are a very good, well-coached basketball team and we would had to be at our best to beat them.
“Our game plan tonight was to come out and be aggressive on defense and attack, but unfortunately some extremely inconsistent officiating took us completely out of our game plan,” noted Lister. “I believe we had 12 or 13 team fouls with 5 minutes left to go in the second quarter.
“I felt terrible for our kids who working there tails off,” added Lister. “Through it all, though, they did not quit and were never out of the game until the end, and for that I am proud of them.”
Spencer scored six points in the first quarter, and Koleton Roupp and Brandon Thompson each had five points to help NP-L to a 20-13 lead after the first eight minutes.
Thompson scored seven points in the second quarter, and Spencer added five, but the Mountaineers were only able to add one point to their lead, taking a 41-33 lead into the halftime locker room.
Junior Troy Pritchard scored six points in the second quarter, and junior J.J. Babcock, who had 10 points in the first half, added five points, including a 3-pointer, to keep the Wildcats in the game.
Athens had no answers for Spencer in the second half.
Spencer tossed in 14 points in the third quarter, including an 8-for-10 performance at the line, as NP-L used an 18-14 edge in the stanza to stretch its lead to 59-47 entering the final eight minutes.
Spencer made 5 of 6 free-throw attempts, and scored nine points in the fourth quarter to fuel a 20-12 Mountaineers advantage in the final stanza.
Spencer had eight assists and six boards to go along with his game-high 34 points for NP-L, while Thompson added 20 points, five rebounds, and three blocked shots, and Colton Litzelman added six steals, five rebounds, and four assists.
Babcock led Athens with 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals, while junior Shayne Reid had 14 points, five steals, and two blocked shots, and junior Mason Lister had 11 points, four rebounds, and four steals. Junior Nalen Carling and Pritchard each had eight points and five rebounds for the Wildcats,.
The Wildcats shot 31 percent (22 of 71) from the field.
Athens, now 8-4, hosts Tunkhannock Monday in a non-league contest.
ATHENS — Chris Mitchell and Carson Smith led a balanced Athens scoring
attack in a 53-23 win over Williamson here Friday night in NTL junior
varsity boys basketball action.
Mitchell scored six points in the first quarter, and Smith added four to help Athens to a 12-4 lead after the first eight minutes.
Seven different Wildcats scored in a 19-8 second-quarter run that pushed the lead to 31-12 at the half.
Smith scored nine points in the second half, and Mitchell added seven as the Wildcats added to their lead.
Mitchell led Athens with 15 points, and Smith added 13 points as all nine Wildcats put their name in the scoring column.
Connor Mosher and Ryan Thompson scored five points apiece in the win, while Lucas Kraft and Davin Spencer had four points apiece, Matt Aquilio added three points, and Korey Miller and Nicholas Jacob chipped in with two points each.
Kaufman led Williamson with 11 points.
Athens returns to action tonight at North Penn-Liberty.
ATHENS — Athens turned a close game into a rout with a second-quarter
blitz on its way to a 73-27 win over Williamson here Friday night in NTL
Large School Division boys basketball action.
Seven different Athens players put their names in the scorebook in the first quarter, led by five points from junior Nalen Carling, four points by senior Griffin Stein, and old-fashioned three-point play by junior J.J. Babcock, as the Wildcats built an 18-12 lead.
Babcock scored 10 points, including a 3-pointer and a conventional three-point play, in the second quarter, while junior Tucker Brown added seven points, including a trey, and juniors Shayne Reid and Troy Pritchard chipped in with four points apiece in a 28-4 run that extended the Wildcat lead to 46-16 at the intermission.
Athens added three points to its advantage in the third quarter, and sophomore Carson Smith buried a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to fuel a 15-2 game-closing run.
The Wildcats, now 8-3, opened the season with an 88-33 win over Williamson.
Babcock led a balanced Athens attack, which had 10 players score at least four points, with 13 points, five steals, three rebounds, and three assists, Brown had nine points, three rebounds, three assists, and three steals, and junior Mason Lister had eight points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and one blocked shot.
Stein had eight points and three rebounds in the win, while Carling had seven points and four rebounds, Pritchard scored seven points, Reid had six points and three assists, Smith scored six points, senior James Benninger-Jones added five points, and sophomore Chris Mitchell chipped in with four points and one blocked shot.
Tristan Parker led Williamson with 11 points, and Jacob Schmitt added 10 points.
Athens returns to action Saturday night at unbeaten North Penn-Liberty.