MILLER NETS 1,000TH CAREER POINT IN 56-13 WIN OVER COWANESQUE VALLEY

MILLER NETS 1,000TH CAREER POINT IN 56-13 WIN OVER COWANESQUE VALLEY

January 29, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — It was quite a day for Kayleigh Miller. In a two-hour span, the Athens senior signed her National Letter-of-Intent to play at Penn College, then scored her 1,000th career point in the Lady Wildcats’ 56-13 win over Cowanesque Valley here Friday.

Miller, who scored 13 points in the win, is currently second all-time in school history in 3-pointers made. Appropriately enough, a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter pit her over the 1,000-point plateau, and that fact wasn’t lost on her coach-father Brian Miller.

“The 3-pointer has been her forte since she was a little freshman, out there playing for coach (Kelly) Burkhart and making 3s, supporting Emily Lunger and Kara Chapman. She would always step up and hit the big 3 to help the team.

“Four years later, she’s become a complete player,” said Miller. “Her forte is being a shooter, and knocking down 3-pointers; it was nice for her to get her 1,000th point with a 3-pointer.”

Kayleigh Miller became the seventh girls in school history to eclipse 1,000 points, following in the footsteps of Jennifer Nichols (1,528 points), Maryellen Onofre (1.512), Emily Lunger (1,270), Taylor Clark (1,256), Michelle Shaffer (1,143), and Kelly McCarty (1,022).

Brian Miller was pleased with the Lady Wildcats’ team play.

“I thought we shared the ball very well,” he said. “(CV) played man-to-man defense, and we ran our sets.

“They were playing physical, and we found some nice offensive flow, and had some nice passes, especially to Caydence (Macik) finishing around the basket,” added Miller.

Of course, defense was once again the cornerstone in the win as Athens allowed just one field goal in the first half.

“I thought we played great defensively,” said Miller. “We contested every shot … we didn’t give them many good looks at all.

“I thought we played 32 good minutes of defense. That’s what we were focusing on … we wanted to look good to get ready for Tuesday night’s game,” added Miller in reference to his Lady Wildcats’ showdown with unbeaten Towanda.

Miller scored five points in the opening stanza, and junior Caydence Macik and senior Megan Collins added four points apiece as Athens raced out to a 15-2 lead.

Macik pumped in 11 points in the second quarter, and sophomore Karlee Bartlow added four points to fuel a 19-0 blitz that pushed the Lady Wildcat advantage to 34-2 at the half.

Macik, who was 9 of 11 from the field, led Athens with 24 points and one blocked shot, while Bartlow added seven points, two assists, and one blocked shot, and Collins chipped in with six points and three assists.

Miller also had five assists, two steals, and a blocked shot in the win, while seniors Rachel Stephens and Hannah Blackman each had three rebounds and two assists.

Renee Abbott led CV with six points.

Athens, now 9-1, travels to face Towanda (7-0) Tuesday.

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DEFENSE, BARTLOW DRIVE ATHENS JV IN WIN OVER COWANESQUE VALLEY

DEFENSE, BARTLOW DRIVE ATHENS JV IN WIN OVER COWANESQUE VALLEY

January 29, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — The Athens defense shut down Cowanesque Valley, and Karlee Bartlow provided more than enough offense in a 28-5 win here Friday night in NTL junior varsity girls basketball action.

Bartlow scored four points in the first quarter to help the junior Wildcats to an 8-0 lead. She pumped in 10 points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play, to fuel a 10-3 run that pushed the lead to 18-3 at the half.

Bartlow scored five more points in the third quarter as Athens extended its lead to 25-5 entering the final eight minutes.

Bartlow had 19 points and three steals to lead Athens, while Abby Champion added four points and four rebounds, Mya Thompson had five rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot, and Emma Bronson registered three steals and two assists.

Athens, now 6-4, returns to action Tuesday at Towanda.

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MILLER SIGNS LETTER-OF-INTENT TO PLAY BASKETBALL AT PENN COLLEGE

MILLER SIGNS LETTER-OF-INTENT TO PLAY BASKETBALL AT PENN COLLEGE

January 29, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens senior Kayleigh Miller had plenty of options on where to play her four years of college basketball, but Pennsylvania College of Technology “felt like the right fit.”

Miller, with friends and family watching, signed her National Letter-of-Intent to attend Penn College Friday afternoon in a brief ceremony at the Athens Area High School.

Also in Miller’s top three were Susquehanna University and Welles College, but Penn College ultimately won out.

“I visited a lot of colleges that were interested in me, but Penn Tech just felt right,” said Kayleigh Miller. “I just loved coach Brittany (Mohney) and coach Travis (Heap).

“I was there a little before Thanksgiving, and I was able to watch a practice. The players all seemed connected, and were there for each other,” she noted.

“They all loved the coaches, and I thought I could be a good fit there, too,” added Miller. “It really felt like a family.”

Miller said the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the recruiting process.

“It was difficult. Normally, I would have been able to go for an overnight visit, watch a game, and stay with the team, but their season was canceled, so I wasn’t able to see experience that.

“And, I really couldn’t get a feel for campus life. I walked around the campus, but there weren’t very many students there,” she said. “Yeah, I think Covid had an impact on the process, but Penn Tech still felt right.”

Another factor for Miller was Penn College’s proximity. Being located in Williamsport, it’s less than 90 minutes from the Valley.

“Being closer to home had a huge impact on my decision,” said Miller. “I want my friends and family to be able to come and watch me play at Penn Tech.”

Miller said she could see some playing time as a freshman for the Lady Wildcats.

“They didn’t guarantee anything, but said as long as I work hard and have a good attitude that anybody can get on the floor.”

Kayleigh Miller, a four-year starter for the Athens Lady Wildcats, played the final three years of her varsity career for her father — Brian Miller.

Coach Miller fought back some emotions during the ceremony.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “Seeing her grow up with the game … coming in as a fourth-grader, going to the Pink ‘Cats, the Waverly Basketball camps, then playing junior high, and AAUs, and playing for coach (Kelly) Burkhart, and then for me, and soon on to college.

“And seeing how hard she worked,” noted Brian Miller. “Nothing was given to her … she really had to work to be a good basketball player. She’s not the type of athlete that it comes naturally to … she’s worked at it, and watched and learned from other girls.

“She’s come a long way from a little twerp in fourth grade.

“I’m proud of her as a Dad, and as a coach, it’s the same thing,” he continued. “You see a player come in, and they want to live their dream and play college basketball at any level, that’s great.

“It takes a special person to make the type of commitment you need to play in college,” added Brian Miller.

Coach Miller believes Kayleigh will be successful at the next level.

“She’s a great shooter, and she really shares the ball well,” he said. “She’s a systems-type girl, so hopefully, Penn College has a system.

“She’ll fit in there, shooting the jump shot, sharing the ball with her teammates, and working hard every day in practice — you’re only as good as how hard you work in practice,” noted Miller. “Kayleigh loves the game of basketball, and she loves to come to practice, and work hard every day in practice.

“(Penn Tech) is getting a player that wants to make her self better, and the team better,” he added. “She’s going to be an asset to the program.”

Coach Miller admits she still has work to do to be ready for next level.

“She probably needs to work on her speed and quickness,” he said. “When you get to the next level, everybody is fast, quick, and stronger. This summer, she’s going to hit the weight room and try to make herself bigger, stronger, and faster.

“And, she’ll need to fine-tune all her skills — ball-handling, driving to the basket, increasing her range as a jump shooter,” he added.

Kayleigh Miller also knows she has things to work on.

“I definitely need to work on driving to the basket, and drawing contact so I can get to the foul line,” she said. “Also, I’ll keep working on my outside shot because they need outside shooters. I need to make sure I can knock down the 3-point shot when I’m open.”

Kayleigh Miller said she’s like to stay involved in sports in the future.

“Right now, I’m planning on majoring in Marketing, with video editing skills for digital marketing,” she said. “I’d really like to work with sports, and edit highlight reels.”

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ATHENS ROLLS OVER NORTH PENN-LIBERTY, 62-16

ATHENS ROLLS OVER NORTH PENN-LIBERTY, 62-16

January 27, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens used a 35-3 blitz over the middle two quarters to forge a 62-16 rout of North Penn-Liberty here Wednesday night in NTL girls basketball action.

Senior Kayleigh Miller got off to a hot start, canning four 3-pointers in the first half en route to 16 points before the intermission.

“We moved the ball around great tonight setting up each other for a good offensive night,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “And, Kayleigh shot the ball great tonight from the perimeter.”

Miller scored eight points in the first quarter to help the Lady Wildcats to an 11-8 lead.

She added two more 3-pointers, and eight more points in the second quarter, and senior Megan Collins buried a 3-pointer and scored five points to fuel a 19-1 Athens outburst that upped the lead to 30-9 at the halftime break.

Junior Caydence Macik took over in the third quarter, scoring eight points in a 16-2 run that pushed the Lady Wildcat lead to 46-11 entering the final eight minutes.

Sophomore Karlee Bartlow scored five points in the fourth quarter, and senior Rachel Stephens added four points in a 16-5 game-ending run for the Lady Wildcats.

Miller led Athens with 23 points, including five 3-pointers, five assists, and four rebounds. She made 9 of 17 shots from the field, including 5 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc.

Macik had 13 points, four rebounds, four steals, and four blocked shots in the win, while Collins added eight points, including a pair of treys on just two shots from behind the arc, three steals, and three assists, and Stephens added four points and four rebounds.

Sophomore Natalee Watson chipped in with four points and three rebounds, while freshman Mya Thompson and senior Hannah Blackman collected four and three rebounds, respectively.

Kiersten Mistifer and Jaclyn Nelson led NP-L with five points apiece.

Athens, now 8-1, hosts Cowanesque Valley Friday.

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ATHENS JVs TOP NP-LIBERTY, 43-19; IMPROVE TO 5-4

ATHENS JVs TOP NP-LIBERTY, 43-19; IMPROVE TO 5-4

January 27, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens jumped out to an early lead, and pulled away for a 43-19 win over North Penn-Liberty here Wednesday night in NTL junior varsity girls basketball action.

Emma Bronson knocked down a 3-pointer and scored five points in the first quarter, and Karlee Bartlow added four points to help Athens to an 11-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

Bartlow scored four more points in a defensive-minded second quarter that saw the junior Lady Wildcats outscore NP-L, 6-3, to up their advantage to 17-7 at the half.

Bartlow scored six points and Mya Thompson added four points in a 14-6 run that stretched the Athens lead to 31-13 entering the final eight minutes.

Bartlow led Athens with 14 points and four rebounds, while Thompson had eight points, 16 rebounds, six steals, three blocked shots, and two assists, and Bronson added seven points, six steals, and two blocked shots

Aislynn Thomas chipped in with four points in the win, while Izzy Davis grabbed four rebounds, and Amber Galvin had two assists.

Darby Stetter and Mackenzie Broughton led NP-L with four points apiece.

Athens, now 5-4, hosts Cowanesque Valley Friday.

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ATHENS LETS BIG LEAD SLIP AWAY; RE-GROUPS TO EDGE SULLIVAN COUNTY IN DOUBLE-OT

ATHENS LETS BIG LEAD SLIP AWAY; RE-GROUPS TO EDGE SULLIVAN COUNTY IN DOUBLE-OT

January 25, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens let a 14-point third-quarter slip away, and twice needed points in the final seconds to force extra play on its way to a double-overtime, 60-58, win over Sullivan County here Monday night in non-league girls basketball action.

“We had our backs against the wall at the end of the first quarter, and we had our backs against the wall at the end of the first overtime, and we made plays on offense and defense to tie the game,” said Athens coach Brian Miller.

“Then, we made plays early in the second overtime to get the lead, and we were able to hold on to the lead,” he noted.

“It showed some guts and determination,” added Miller. “It’s good to play a game like that … to have to execute down the stretch to win those close games.”

The Wildcats also beat Northeast Bradford in double-overtime to open the season.

“And, we’re undefeated in double-overtime games, so that’s good,” laughed Miller.

Athens built a 14-point lead midway through the third quarter, but foul trouble took its toll.

“We turned the ball over a lot in the full-court, and in the half,” said Miller. “They were pressuring our guards all over the place, so we couldn’t enter the ball into the post, or run our offense, and we had some silly turnovers.

“The most disappointing part was we built the lead to 14 points in the third quarter, then we had a couple girls get in foul trouble,” he noted. “We made some really silly mistakes, and the next thing you know it’s a ball game in the fourth quarter.

“We had some really uncharacteristic turnovers in the half-court set, and in the full-court,” added Miller.

Sullivan County closed the third quarter with a 9-0 run to trim the deficit to 40-33 entering the final eight minutes.

The Lady Griffins eventually took the lead, and were up two in the closing seconds when junior Caydence Macik — who scored 18 of Athens’ 21 second-half points, including all eight in the fourth quarter, rebounded an Athens missed and scored on the putback with 2 seconds remaining to tie the game at 48-48 and send the game into overtime.

Sullivan County took the lead early in the extra session with four straight points, but Athens tied the game on a pair of free throws by senior Kayleigh Miller with 15 seconds remaining.

The Lady Wildcat defense then held Sullivan County without a shot in the closing seconds.

In the second overtime period, Macik drained a pair of free throws to give Athens a 58-56, then added a bucket with 40 seconds remaining to up the lead to 60-56.

“This is a good win for us,” said Miller. “The girls played hard, and overcame some adversity. This will help us in the long run.”

Miller, who was limited to just four free throws after the intermission in part due to foul trouble, knocked down a 3-pointer and scored seven points in the opening stanza to help the Lady Wildcats to a 9-7 lead.

Macik scored eight points in the second quarter, while Miller added five, including her second 3-pointer, and senior Megan Collins buried a trey in the Lady ‘Cats’ 18-13 run that pushed the lead to 27-20 at the break.

Macik scored 10 points, and Collins was 3-for-3 from the line after being fouled on a shot from behind the arc as Athens stretched its lead to 40-26 with 2 1/2 remaining in the third quarter.

Macik, who made 15 of 22 shots from the field, led Athens with a career-high 34 points, to go along with 11 rebounds, four assists,  two steals, and one blocked shot, while Miller had 16 points, eight rebounds, and five assists,

Collins had six points and four boards in the win, while sophomore Karlee Bartlow chipped in with four points, five assists, and two steals, and senior Hannah Blackman grabbed four rebounds.

Sophia Springman led Sullivan County with 22 points, and Bethany Beinlich and Kassidy Beinlich added 12 points apiece.

Athens was 11 of 13 from the free-throw line in the contest, while Sullivan County was 13 of 29.

Athens, now 7-1, hosts North Penn-Liberty Wednesday.

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ATHENS JVs DROP DECISION TO SULLIVAN; TOP TROY, 31-21

ATHENS JVs DROP DECISION TO SULLIVAN; TOP TROY, 31-21

January 25, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Sullivan County used an 18-6 fourth-quarter run to blow open a close game on its way to a 41-26 win over Athens here Monday night in non-league junior varsity girls basketball action.

Sullivan County led 8-4 after the first eight minutes, then extended the lead to five points, at 15-10, at the half.

The junior Wildcats trimmed the deficit to three points, at 23-20, entering the final eight minutes. Natalee Watson led the way in the third quarter with four points.

Mya Thompson and Watson led Athens with six points apiece, and Karlee Bartlow and Abby Champion added four points each.

Watson and Braelynn Wood led Athens with three rebounds apiece, while Emma Bronson had four assists and two steals, Bartlow had two steals and two assists, and Thompson registered three blocked shots and two steals.

Stella Harney led Sullivan County with 19 points, including 11 in the second half.

SATURDAY
Athens 31, Troy 21

At Troy, Athens raced out to a 16-point lead en route to a 31-21 win over Troy Saturday at the Troy Commons Building.

Karlee Bartlow scored seven points, and Braelynn Wood added four markers to power Athens in an 11-0 first-quarter run.

Bartlow added four more points in the second quarter to fuel a 10-5 spurt that gave the junior Wildcats a 21-5 lead at the halftime intermission.

Bartlow scored 16 points to lead Athens, while Emma Bronson had six points, four rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots, Wood added six points, and Mya Thompson contributed five rebounds, three steals, two assists, and two blocked shots.

Athens, now 3-4, hosts North Penn-Liberty Wednesday.

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ATHENS SHAKES OFF EARLY SHOOTING WOES; TOPS TROY, 51-22

ATHENS SHAKES OFF EARLY SHOOTING WOES; TOPS TROY, 51-22

January 23, 2021 Tim Birney

TROY — Athens overcame some first-half shooting woes to post a 51-22 win over Troy here Saturday afternoon in NTL Large School Division girls basketball action at the Troy Commons Building.

“We struggled early making open jump shots,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “But, we got our legs under us and made some nice shots and executed much better in the second half.

“And, shooting 19-21 from the foul line was outstanding,” added Miller.

Senior Kayleigh Miller scored four points in the first quarter, and senior Megan Collins added a 3-pointer to help Athens to a 9-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

Miller canned a 3-pointer and scored five points in the second quarter as Athens added two points to its advantage, taking an 18-11 lead into the halftime locker room.

Junior Caydence Macik took over in the second half.

Macik scored eight points in the third quarter, and Miller added four points to account for all the Lady Wildcats’ points in a 12-5 run that pushed their lead to 30-16.

Macik added nine more points, including a 5-for-5 effort from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, and Miller added six points in a 21-6 blitz that blew the game open.

“Emma Bronson had a good second half,” said Miller. “She played the passing lanes, and was finding girls in transition.”

The Lady Wildcats made 13 of 14 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, and 19 of 21 in the contest. Miller was 8 of 9 from the line, and Macik made 7 of 8, while sophomore Emma Bronson and sophomore Braelynn Wood were both 2-for-2.

Macik led Athens with 21 points, 13 rebounds, four steals, and two blocked shots, while Miller had 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists, and Collins added five points, a team-high six assists, and four boards.

Sophomore Karlee Bartlow grabbed seven rebounds in the win, while Bronson had four steals, and three rebounds, and sophomore Natalie Watson chipped in with four boards.

Sydney Taylor led Troy with 11 points and Hannah Zimmerman was 7-for-8 from the free-throw line for seven points.

Athens, now 6-1, returns to action Monday when it hosts Sullivan County — the first of three home games next week for the Lady Wildcats.

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MACIK, MILLER PACE ATHENS IN, 62-23, ROUT OF WILLIAMSON

MACIK, MILLER PACE ATHENS IN, 62-23, ROUT OF WILLIAMSON

January 21, 2021 Tim Birney

TIOGA JUNCTION — Athens exploded for 47 first-half points, and cruised to a 62-23 win over Williamson here Thursday night in NTL girls basketball action.

“Caydence (Macik) and Kayleigh (Miller) shot the ball great tonight,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “We had over 20 assists as a team, so that shows we executed our offense and shared the ball with each other.”

The Lady Wildcats shot 57 percent (26 of 46) from the field, with Macik making 10 of her 13 shots, and Miller knocking down 8 of her 13 shots, including 3 of 6 from behind the three-point arc.

Miller canned a pair of 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the first quarter, and Macik added six points to fuel a 23-6 first-quarter run.

Macik scored eight points, and Miller added seven points in the Lady Wildcats’ 24-8 blitz that pushed the lead to 47-14.

Macik had 21 points, six rebounds, six blocked shots, and two steals, and Miller had 21 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals to lead the Lady Wildcats.

Sophomore Karlee Bartlow had eight points, three assists, and two steals in the win, while Natalee Watson scored six points, senior Megan Collins doled out a team-high six assists, sophomore Emma Bronson dished out five assists, and freshman Mya Thompson grabbed three rebounds, and blocked one shot.

Lateisha Peterson led Williamson with 11 points, and Taylor Rae Jones added 10 points.

Athens, now 5-1, returns to action Saturday at Troy in a noon start.

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ATHENS ROLLS TO 52-25 WIN AT NORTH PENN-MANSFIELD

ATHENS ROLLS TO 52-25 WIN AT NORTH PENN-MANSFIELD

January 19, 2021 Tim Birney

MANSFIELD — The Athens defense held North Penn-Mansfield scoreless for nine minutes to start the game, and built a 16-point halftime lead en route to a 52-25 win here Tuesday night in NTL Large School girls basketball action.

The first quarter was a defensive struggle with NP-Mansfield playing a defense designed to stop Athens senior Kayleigh Miller.

“Mansfield came out and played box-and-one on Kayleigh most of  the game,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “We adjusted from the second quarter on to get some good offensive looks.”

Senior Megan Collins buried a 3-pointer and junior Caydence Macik added a bucket to give the Lady Wildcats a 5-0 lead after the first eight minutes.

Macik scored five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play, and Collins knocked down another 3-pointer in the second quarter to fuel a 16-5 blitz that put Athens up 21-5 at the break.

In the third quarter, senior Kayleigh Miller buried a pair of 3-pointers, and Macik added four points as Athens added one point to its lead, taking a 34-17 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Macik scored eight points in the final eight minutes and Miller added four as Athens put the game away with an 18-8 run.

Macik led Athens with 20 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot, while Miller had 12 points, six steals, and five rebounds, and Collins added eight points and four assists.

Natalie Watson chipped in with four points and four rebounds in the win, while Mya Thompson had four rebounds and three steals, and Karlee Bartlow dished out four assists.

“Freshman Mya Thompson played a good game floor game tonight,” said Miller.

Elizabeth Kohl led NP-M with six points.

Athens, now 4-1, returns to action Thursday at Williamson.

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ATHENS JVs FALL AT NORTH-PENN MANSFIELD, 38-23

ATHENS JVs FALL AT NORTH-PENN MANSFIELD, 38-23

January 19, 2021 Tim Birney

MANSFIELD — North Penn-Mansfield held a slim lead after the first eight minutes, but pulled away thanks in large part to a 14-5 third-quarter run for a 38-23 win over Athens here Tuesday night in NTL junior varsity girls basketball action.

The junior Tigers led 9-8 after the first quarter, and 17-12 at the half, before stretching their advantage to 31-17 heading into the final eight minutes.

Mya Thompson led Athens with seven points, five rebounds, and three steals, while Karlee Bartlow had five points, two assists, and two steals, and Natalee Watson had five points and seven rebounds.

Abby Champion added three rebounds and two blocked shots for the junior Lady Wildcats, while Braelynn Wood grabbed four rebounds, and Izzy Davis had three boards.

Athens, now 2-3, returns to action Thursday at Williamson.


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 ATHENS OVERCOMES SHOOTING WOES WITH DEFENSE; TOPS WELLSBORO, 28-22

ATHENS OVERCOMES SHOOTING WOES WITH DEFENSE; TOPS WELLSBORO, 28-22

January 16, 2021 Tim Birney

WELLSBORO — Athens overcame ice-cold shooting, thanks to a stingy defense, and rallied for a 28-22 win over Wellsboro here Saturday afternoon in NTL Large School girls basketball action.

“We played a very good defensive game today,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “Our offense struggled to make shots, but our defense kept us in the game, and we did make some keys shots down the stretch.

“It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win,” added Miller.

The Lady Wildcats, now 3-1, shot just 21 percent (9 of 42) from the field in the win, including an 18-percent (2 of 11) performance from behind the three-point arc.

Athens led 7-6 after the first eight minutes, but were outscored, 9-3, in the second quarter, and Wellsboro went to the halftime locker room with a 15-10 lead.

Senior Kayleigh Miller, who had five points in the stanza, and senior Megan Collins each knocked down a 3-pointer, and sophomore Karlee Bartlow converted an old-fashioned three-point play to fuel an 11-6 spurt that tied the game at 21-21 entering the final eight minutes.

The Lady Wildcats turned up the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter and allowed the Lady Green Hornets just one free throw. Meanwhile, senior Rachel Stephens and junior Cayden Macik scored buckets to put Athens up 25-22.

Macik made 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Macik led Athens with eight points and four boards, while Barlow had eight points and five rebounds, Miller had five points, four rebounds, four assists, and two assists, Collins had five points, three rebounds, and two blocked shots, and Natalie Watson chipped in with three rebounds.

Emma Coolidge led Wellsboro with seven points.

Athens, now 3-1, returns to action Tuesday at North Penn-Mansfield.

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BLOOMSBURG CRUISES TO BIG WIN OVER ATHENS JVs

BLOOMSBURG CRUISES TO BIG WIN OVER ATHENS JVs

January 13, 2021 Tim Birney

BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg raced out to a big lead early, an cruised to a big win over Athens here Wednesday night in non-league junior varsity girls basketball action.

Maize Aikey scored 12 points in the first quarter to fuel a 23-2 Bloomsburg blitz. Abby Champion scored Athens’ only bucket.

Braelynn Wood scored four points in the second quarter, and Karlee Bartlow added a pair of free throws, but Bloom used a 17-6 run to stretch the halftime advantage to 40-8.

The junior Panthers outscored Athens, 22-0, in the second half for a 62-8 win.

Wood led Athens with four points, and Mya Thompson had four rebounds, while Aikey led four Bloom scorers in double-figures with 17 points.

Athens, now 1-2, returns to action Saturday at Wellsboro.

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ATHENS PULLS OUT OVERTIME THRILLER; TOPS NEB, 58-53

ATHENS PULLS OUT OVERTIME THRILLER; TOPS NEB, 58-53

January 11, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — After a back-and-fourth four quarters of action, Athens scored the first seven points in overtime to pull out a 58-53 win over Northeast Bradford here Monday night in NTL girls basketball action.

The Lady Wildcats improve to 2-0 with the win, and coach Brian Miller said Saturday’s game paid dividends Monday night.

“It was nice to have a game under our belt,” he said. “I needed it as a coach to see how some of my younger girls — meaning Emma (Bronson) and Karlee (Bartlow) — would react at the varsity level.

“As the game went on, you see their confidence level grow, and you could see them feel their way into the game.

“We held Lauryn Jones to three points, which is a great accomplishment, and that was mostly Karlee and Emma,” added Miller.

Junior Maisie Neuber picked up the slack for Jones, scoring 30 points and hauling down 11 rebounds.

“Next time, we have to do a better job on (Maisie) Neuber, she had a great game,” said Miller. “She was good last year … she has turned into an elite player.”

Opening the season at Athens was a tough chore, noted Beebe.

“I feel awesome about how our girls played. They never gave up,” said Beebe. “Coming into this gym on the first night of the season … with just five practices and you draw Athens, that’s tough.

“I couldn’t ask for anything else, well a win, I guess,” laughed Beebe, “The girls played great.”

Athens led by as many as five points three times in the first half, but Northeast fought back to take the lead each time.

Conversely, the Lady Panthers built a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Athens rallied to take the lead before the game went into overtime.

“We’ve played Northeast three times since the start of last season, and two of the three have gone to overtime,” said Miller.

“It was a game of momentum. We’d take a five-point lead, and they’d come back to tie it. They would take a five-point lead, and we came back to tie it.

“It shows you what type of teams both of us have,” noted Miller. “We can get our backs against the wall, settle in, and battle back.”

“It’s a great win,” added Miller. “I told the girls (Northeast) is the best team by far (in the Small School Division), maybe the best team in the league, along with Towanda, if you take us out of the equation, so that’s a good win.”

NEB coach Ben Beebe expressed similar sentiments.

“One thing I love about playing one of Brian Miller’s team, is that it’s always good basketball,” said Beebe. “Both teams went on runs, and both teams answered.

“Both teams played good defense, you can’t really ask for a better game,” he noted.

“Tough games like this make you better,” Beebe added. “I’ll take a game like this any day of the week. I can’t wait to play Athens again in a month.”

Miller, who canned four 3-pointers, paced Athens with 25 points, including a 7-for-7 effort from the free-throw line. four steals, and four assists. She scored 17 points, including all seven free throws, in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Macik added 12 points, 10 rebounds, five blocked shots, and three assists in the win, while Stephens had seven points, seven rebounds, and three steals, Bartlow added six points and three steals, and Collins chipped in with five points and three assists.

Alena Beebe banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key to open the scoring and Neuber added a pair of buckets, sandwiched around scores by Macik, to give the Lady Panthers a 7-4 lead.

Stephens then scored back-to-back buckets — the first off a nifty high-low assist from Macik, and the second on a fast-break assist from Miller — to trigger an 8-0 spurt that put the Lady Wildcats up 12-7.

Neuber scored five straight points on a long two-point jumper and a 3-pointer to tie the game at 12-12 with 1:02 remaining in the first quarter.

Macik banked in a runner with 6 seconds remaining to give Athens a 14-12 lead after the first eight minutes.

NEB scored the first five points of the second quarter, but Miller and Collins knocked down consecutive three-pointers, and Macik added a bucket on a textbook screen-and-roll assist from Miller in an 8-0 spurt that put the Lady Wildcats up 22-17 with 1:20 remaining in the first half.

Neuber scored with 2 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the NEB halftime deficit to 24-21.

Beebe, Kayleigh Thoman, and Neuber scored consecutive buckets to open the second half, giving NEB a 27-24 lead with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

After the teams traded buckets, Collins canned a 15-foot jumper, and Miller drained a 3-pointer to give Athens a 31-29 lead with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Neuber made four straight free throws to give NEB a 33-31 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter, but a free throw by Bartlow cut the Athens deficit to one point heading into the final eight minutes.
 
Jones drained a long 3-pointer on NEB’s first possession of the fourth quarter, and moments later Neuber gave the Lady Panthers their biggest lead of the game — at 38-32 — after turning a steal into a fast-break lay-up with 7:25 left in regulation.

Athens answered with six straight points — the last five coming on a pair of free throws and an old-fashioned three-point play by Miller — to tie the game at 38-38 with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter.

The teams traded points until Beebe drained a 3-pointer with 3:01 remaining in the fourth quarter to give NEB a 45-42 lead.

After a free throw by Macik, Miller banked in a 3-pointer with 2:12 left in regulation to give the Lady Wildcats a 46-45 lead.

Neuber, off a feed from Thoman, gave NEB its final lead of the game, at 47-46, with 59 seconds left in regulation.

Athens’ ensuing possession nearly ended in disaster when a low-post entry pass intended for Macik went off her hands. As she fell out-of-bounds, she deftly batted the ball back in-bounds, where Miller fielded it cleanly near the top of the key, and buried a 3-pointer to give Athens a 49-47 lead with 38 seconds remaining.

After Neuber tied the game with a shot from the low block, Miller’s potential game-winner was blocked with 5 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.

Neither team was able to score on its first two possessions in overtime, but Bartlow put Athens ahead with a free throw, following her steal in the paint under the NEB bucket and subsequent coast-to-coast drive.

Following another NEB turnover, Miller drove baseline for a lay-up with 1:47 remaining in overtime to make it 52-49.

After a defensive stop, Athens made six of eight free throws, including three by sophomore Emma Bronson, to seal the win.

Miller was pleased with the contributions of every player that stepped on the floor.

“After Kayleigh banked in the three, Karlee had a nice drive for a basket, and Emma made three out of four free throws in overtime,” he said. “We had girls get some big rebounds and loose balls down the stretch.

“It’s a team game,” Miller added. “We’re more than just two girls, we have to play five girls on the floor — they all have to rebounds, they all have to communicate and play defense, and we did that tonight.”

Neuber added 11 rebounds to go along with her 30 points for the Lady Panthers, while Thoman and Beebe, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, scored eight points apiece, and Kate O’Connor added four points.

Athens returns to action Wednesday at Bloomsburg.

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NEB PULLS AWAY FROM ATHENS

NEB PULLS AWAY FROM ATHENS

January 11, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS —  Northeast Bradford used an 18-7 second-period run to take control on its way to a 35-12 win over Athens here Monday night in NTL girls junior varsity basketball action.

The junior Panthers led 4-2 after the first 10-minute period, but Emma Neuber scored six points and Alena Beebe, Julia Brown and Meg Russell each added four points in the decisive run that extended the lead to 20-9. (The game was played in three 10-minute periods.)

Neuber scored seven more points in the final period, and finished with a game-high 13 points. Beebe added six points in the win.

Karlee Bartlow led Athens with six points, and Abby Champion added a 3-pointer.

Athens, now 1-1, returns to action Wednesday at Bloomsburg.

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