TOWANDA - Addy Wheeler scored 12 points to lead Athens to a hard-fought,
28-26, win over Northeast Bradford in the championship game of the
junior varsity girls Valley Christmas Tournament here Wednesday
Mya Thompson scored four points, including an old-fashioned three-point play, in the first quarter, and Sara Bronson added a bucket to stake Athens to a 6-5 lead.
Wheeler scored five points, including a 3-pointer, as Athens upped its lead to 13-11 at half in the defensive struggle.
Bronson and Wheeler scored four points apiece in a 9-7 third-quarter advantage that extended the junior Wildcats' lead to 22-18.
Athens, which made 5 of 10 free-throw shots in the first three quarter, made 4 of 7 in the final stanza to seal the win. Wheeler was 3 of 5.
Wheeler had six rebounds, six steals, and one blocked shot to go along with her 12 points, while Thompson had seven points, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots, and Bronson had seven points and three assists.
Kelsea Moore and Emma Neuber led NEB with eight points apiece, and Lillie Maynard added six.
WAVERLY - Junior Karlee Bartlow and sophomore Mya Thompson sent
short-handed Athens off to a fast start on its way to a 50-14 win over
Sayre here Wednesday evening in the consolation game of the girls Valley
Christmas Basketball Tournament.
"The kids stepped up and played well," said Athens coach Brian Miller. "Missing two starters, we had to play different positions on offense and defense, but the girls adjusted quite well.
"Mya Thompson played a well-rounded game, and Karlee Bartlow did a great job finishing at the basket," added Miller.
The Lady Redskins, who did not field a team in 2020 due to a lack of numbers, are 0-3, with two of those losses to Athens and the other to Towanda - the preseason favorites to battle for the NTL Large School title this year.
Longtime Sayre coach Eileen Sparduti is of the opinion "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."
"We made it," she said. "We survived maybe the toughest season opening we could have ever had.
"We were able to work on our half-court defense tonight, which really improved," noted Sparduti. "That's not reflected in the score because many of their points were scored off our ball-handling errors.
"Offensively, we are still adjusting to the speed and pressure of varsity play and are still too hesitant about attacking, but that will come.
"Next week, we will see what we benefited from in these "˜trials by fire,'" added Sparduti. "It certainly did not consume us."
Karlee Bartlow netted 10 points and Thompson added six to fuel an 18-4 run in the first eight minutes for the Lady Wildcats, who were playing without seniors Caydence Macik and Olivia Bartlow.
Six different Lady Wildcats put their names in the scoring column in the second quarter, led by four points apiece from Bartlow and freshman Addy Wheeler, in a 16-6 run that extended the lead to 34-10.
Bartlow led Athens with 21 points, seven steals, and three assists, while Wheeler had 10 points, three rebounds, six steals, and one blocked shot, and Thompson had eight points, four rebounds, and six steals.
Junior Emma Bronson added five points and three rebounds for the Lady Wildcats, and freshman Ravyn Glisson chipped in with four points and four boards.
Gabby Shaw had four points and five rebounds, and Jazz DeKay had four points and three boards to lead Sayre, while Liz Shaw had five rebounds and three steals, and Kendra Merrill added four boards and three assists.
Athens, now 4-2, is scheduled to open the New Year at Towanda Jan. 5, while Sayre (0-3) is slated to host North Penn-Mansfield Jan. 3.
WAVERLY — Waverly used a 19-1 first-half run to take control on its way
to a 59-23 win over Athens here Tuesday night in the opening round of
the annual girls Valley Christmas Basketball Tournament.
"We played pretty good — solid defense, high energy, and we executed offensively," said Waverly coach Bob Kelly. "We could finish a lot better, but the execution was there.
"Sometimes when the ball's not going in, there's one thing you can always do, and that's play defense — and we played pretty solid defense," noted Kelly. "When the girls are all firing on the same cylinder it's a good thing. We've been working on it, we continue to work on it, and they get better with it.
"They seem to be getting comfortable with it, and I like what I see," he added.
The Lady Wildcats were playing without their leading scorer, senior Caydence Macik, who recently netted her 1,000th career point.
"Caydence (Macik) is the centerpiece of our team," said Athens coach Brian Miller. "She's a 1,000-point scorer and has almost 600 rebounds.
"The thing people don't realize is she breaks the press for us a lot," noted Miller. "She flashes to the middle, handles the ball, and gets the ball to the right girl in the right area, so we can get into our offense. Not having her, we had girls in different spots they weren't use to.
"Unfortunately, we played a team that's known for pressing and trapping, and making you feel uncomfortable," added Miller. "At times we looked OK, but most of the time we looked a little nervous and uncomfortable ... we weren't moving to the ball, or making good passes, but that's Waverly's style and it hurt us tonight."
Junior Karlee Barlow scored back-to-back buckets to give the Lady Wildcats a 7-4 lead with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter, but they wouldn't score again for nearly 7 1/2 minutes, and would only score three points the remainder of the first half.
Sophomore Peyton Shaw scored on a putback on the offensive glass with 1:52 remaining to pull Waverly within one point, at 9-8 and junior Kennedy Westbrook canned a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining to give the Lady Wolverines the lead for good, 11-9.
Kennedy Westbrook knocked down a 15-foot jumper with 33 seconds remaining to give Waverly a 13-9 lead after the first eight minutes.
Kennedy Westbrook also scored on a driving lay-up and a pair of free throws early in the second quarter to up the lead to 17-9.
Shaw canned a 3-pointer, and Kennedy Westbrook capped the 16-0 run with a fast-break lay-up to make it 20-7 with 3:51 left in the first half.
Junior Natalee Watson's free throw snapped Athens' scoreless drought, but sophomore Paige Robinson knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 23-7 with 2:22 left in the first half.
Freshman Addy Wheeler scored on a runner with 1:45 left in the half for the Lady Wildcats' first field goal in more than eight minutes.
Kennedy Westbrook gave Waverly a 24-10 lead at the half with a free throw with 32 seconds remaining.
Waverly freshman Addison Westbrook and Athens junior Emma Bronson traded buckets early in the third quarter, but Waverly scored the next 15 points in a run ignited by consecutive 3-pointers by Kennedy Westbrook, senior Olivia NIttinger, and Addison Westbrook.
Karlee Bartlow scored five points in the final 89 seconds of the quarter, but the Lady Wildcats trailed 41-17 entering the final eight minutes.
Addison Westbrook scored nine points in the fourth quarter, and Kennedy Westbrook added five — both hit 3-pointers — as Waverly closed the game with an 18-6 run.
Kennedy Westbrook led all scorers with 20 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Addison Westbrook added 16 points and two 3-pointers, Nittinger scored 13 points, and Shaw chipped in with five points.
Karlee Bartlow led Athens with nine points and five rebounds, while Wheeler had five points, five rebounds, and two steals, sophomore Mya Thompson added four points and eight boards, Bronson had four rebounds, and one blocked shot, and Watson had two boards and two blocked shots.
Waverly, now 4-2, will take on Towanda Thursday at 6 p.m. at Sayre High School in the championship game, while Athens (3-2) squares off with Sayre (0-2) Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the consolation game at Waverly High School.
ATHENS - Athens senior Caydence Macik scored her 1,000th career point
late in the second quarter Thursday night in Athens' 50-21 win over
Macik became the ninth player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, following in the footsteps of Jennifer Nichols (1,528 points), Maryellen Onofre (1.512), Emily Lunger (1,270), Taylor Clark (1,256), Kayleigh Miller (1,187) Janet Gabriel (1,185), Michelle Shaffer (1,143), and Kelly McCarty (1,022).
"It is quite an accomplishment," said Athens coach Brian Miller.
"Caydence has come a long ways since her freshman year when she scored in transition and scored on putbacks," noted Miller. :Now, she's more of a complete player - she can score from the perimeter, and she can play with her back to the basket.
Macik is the fifth 1,000-point scorer to play under Miller - Katie Histed, Rachel Shepard, and Kelly Thomas at Waverly, and his daughter Kayleigh Miller last year at Athens.
"It's a proud accomplishment as a coach," he said.
"She a nice kid, and a really good basketball player," added Miller.
Macik, who only played in the first half, grabbed four rebounds, and is closing in on 600 for her career.
"She plays both ends," said Miller. "Because she's one of our taller girls, she's played inside the majority of the time over the last four years.
"Kudos to her for hitting the boards on the defensive and offensive end," added Miller.
ATHENS - Athens raced out to a 39-4 halftime lead, and cruised to a
50-21 win over Sayre, which was playing its first varsity game in nearly
two years, here Thursday night in NTL girls basketball action.
"We played well in the first half," said Athens coach Brian Miller. "We executed our offense, and we scored in transition; we like to score in transition, so it was nice to get that going."
Miller played his reserves for the entire second half.
"Sayre is down a little bit, and haven't played in a couple of years," he said. "It gave us the opportunity to give some girls major minutes at the varsity level, and to work on some things they need to get better at.
"It was nice to get everyone in the game - and to get all 11 girls major playing time," added Miller.
For Sayre coach Eileen Sparduti, it was her time on the sidelines for a varsity game (she coached the Sayre junior high team last year) since Feb. 10, 2020. For many of her girls, it was their first varsity game.
"Not only was there a skill and experience mismatch, but the environment - the crowded gym - played a part," she said.
"Young inexperienced teams need to learn to turn that noise off and focus inside the lines," noted Sparduti. "They let the moment own them early, but kept battling against Brian(Miller's) reserves with some confidence-building results.
"I appreciate the coaching courtesy Coach Miller extended to us," she added. "We were able to leave with some positives and that will just make the league stronger down the road. We need to keep our programs viable."
The Lady Wildcats blew the game open quickly, and led wire-to-wire.
Macik scored 10 points in the first quarter, while junior Karlee Bartlow drained a 3-pointer and scored five points, senior Olivia Bartlow added four points, and freshman Addy Wheeler canned a 3-pointer in a 28-0 blitz in the first eight minutes.
Macik scored seven points points in the second quarter, including her 1,000th career point (see related story), in an 11-4 spurt as Athens stretched its lead to 39-4 at the intermission.
Jazz DeKay, who scored both of Sayre's buckets in the second quarter, added another bucket in the third quarter, while Liz Shaw, Kendra Merrill, and Gabby Shaw also scored two points apiece as the Redskins outscored Athens, 8-6.
Liz Shaw scored four points in the fourth quarter as Sayre closed the game with a 9-5 spurt.
Macik led Athens with 17 points, four rebounds, and one blocked shot, while Karlee Bartlow had five points, Olivia Bartlow added four points and three boards, and freshman Sara Bronson grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out three assists.
Wheeler had four assists and three steals in the win, while sophomore Mya Thompson grabbed five rebounds and recorded three steals, freshman Ella Coyle doled out three assists, and Izzy Davis hauled down four boards.
Liz Shaw led Sayre with six points and two steals, while Jazz DeKay scored six points, Gabby Shaw added four points, and Kendra Merrill had five assists, two rebounds, and two steals.
Athens, now 3-1, returns to action Tuesday at Waverly in the opening round of the Valley Christmas Tournament, while Sayre (0-1) hosts Towanda in the other opening-round game.
ROME — For a little bit in the fourth quarter, it was looking like
shades of NEB's recent loss to Towanda on Friday. The Panthers had seen a
big lead dwindle down to a 1-point deficit, but this time they
performed in the clutch, scoring seven straight points to pull out the
52-46 win in NTL girls' basketball action Monday."
"There was more than a little shades," said NEB coach Ben Beebe. "There was way too many coincidence there that we didn't like, but the girls held on, and came through, and still continued to play hard. We've been trying to work on that constantly. That's a huge deal for us, trying to close out games, and we're starting, so, hopefully, the next couple of games, we'll have that mastered."
Maisie Neuber finished with 25 points, six boards, and four steals for NEB, while Alena Beebe had a strong game, scoring 17 points on 5-for-12 from 3-point range.
"She shot really well today, which really helps," Beebe said about Alena's performance. "She's a really good shooter, And, you can have her and Maisie at the same time on fire, it's hard for an opponent.""¨
Kayleigh Thoman returned from injury to chip in with six points, while Julia Brown added three points, and 10 boards. Kate O'Connor had one point with a team-high 11 boards.
It was another slow start for Athens, but coach Brian Miller liked the fight he saw in his team."¨
"˜It's tough to come back, but I give the girls credit, they fought," he said. "They played good enough defense to keep it close, we actually took a lead at 46-45, I believe. And then (Julia Brown), she made a nice three-pointer in the corner. And then we just didn't execute on the offensive end down the stretch, but kudos to them.
ATHENS — Athens jumped out to big first-half leads, and posted big wins
over Northeast Bradford and Canton Thursday and Saturday to improve to
4-0 on the season in NTL junior varsity basketball action.
Athens 50, NEB 18
Athens used a stifling defense to build a 24-point halftime cushion on its way to a 50-18 win over Northeast Bradford Thursday.
Kolsen Keathley scored four points and Korey Miller knocked down a 3-pointer to help Athens to a 12-4 lead after the first eight minutes.
Connor Mosher, Jace Babcock, who had a rare four-point play, and Nicholas Jacob scored four points apiece in the second quarter to fuel an 18-2 blitz that gave the junior Wildcats a 30-6 halftime lead.
Athens kept up the pace in the third quarter with a 13-4 burst, keyed by five points from Chris Mitchell, a 3-pointer by Mosher and a three-point play by Miller. Athens led 43-10 entering the final eight minutes.
Mitchell led a balanced Athens attack with eight points, while Mosher scored seven points, and Miller contributed six points, three rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
Keathley and Jacob scored six points apiece in the win, while Babcock and Xavier Watson chipped in with four points, and Peter Jones grabbed three boards.
Athens 50, Canton 30
At Canton, Athens raced out to a double-digit lead early, and cruised to a 50-30 win over Canton Saturday night.
Chris Mitchell and Connor Mosher, who drained a pair of 3-pointers, scored six points apiece, and Korey Miller knocked down a trey and scored five points in the first quarter to fuel a 19-7 run in the first eight minutes.
Miller canned his second 3-pointer of the game and scored seven points in a 16-7 run that extended the junior Wildcats' lead to 35-14 at the half.
Xavier Watson scored four points in the third quarter as Athens added to its lead, and took a 42-19 lead into the final eight minutes.
Miller led Athens with 12 points and four rebounds, while Mitchell had 10 points and four boards, and Mosher had six points and three assists
Jack Cheresnowsky contributed five points, three rebounds, and three steals in the win, while Jase Babcock had five points and three steals, Watson scored five points, and Troy Rosenbloom hauled down four rebounds.
Athens, now 4-0, hosts Sayre Thursday.
ATHENS — Athens fell behind early, but dominated through the middle two
quarters on its way to a 52-33 win over Canton here Friday night NTL
girls basketball action.
Carolyn Thoren scored six points, and the Lady Warriors held Athens without a field goal in the game's first eight minutes en route to a 10-2 lead, but senior Caydence Macik took over for the Lady Wildcats in the second quarter.
Macik poured in 14 points to fuel a 17-3 blitz that put them ahead 19-13 at the half.
Freshman Addy Wheeler scored seven points in the third quarter, and Macik added six in a 15-2 third-quarter run that gave Athens a 34-15 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Canton more than doubled its output in the game, scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Wildcats matched their total salt away the win. Wheeler, with eight points, and Macik combined for 14 points in the closing stanza.
Macik led Athens with 26 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots, and Wheeler had 18 points, three rebounds, four steals, and one blocked shot.
Junior Karlee Bartlow had four points, seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals for the Lady Wildcats in the win, while junior Emma Bronson had four points and three rebounds, and senior Olivia Bartlow had four boards and two blocked shots.
Thoren, Aislyn Williams, and Emmi Tymeson scored eight points apiece to pace Canton.
Athens, now 2-0, travels to NEB Monday night.
ATHENS — Mya Thompson and Sara Bronson combined for 27 points to lead
Athens to a 31-25 win over Canton here Friday night in NTL junior
varsity girls basketball action.
Canton led Athens 8-7 after the first eight minutes, but the junior Wildcats flipped the script in the second quarter to tie the game at 15-15 at the half.
Thompson scored two buckets in the third quarter, and the Athens defense held Canton to just one bucket, and took a 19-17 lead into the final eight minutes.
Thompson scored six points in the fourth quarter, and Bronson added four points to offset eight points scored by Canton's Carolyn Thoren.
Thompson led Athens with 17 points, four rebounds, and five steals, while Bronson had 10 points, eight rebounds, and two assists, and Izzy Davis added four points.
Ella Coyle had three rebounds, three steals, and two assists in the win, and Ravyn Glisson had three boards and five steals.
Thoren led Canton with 16 points.
Athens returns to action Monday at NEB.
ENS — Athens’ Brian Miller was named the NTL “Coach of the Year”
for the second straight season, and his star players — senior Kayleigh
Miller and junior Caydence Macik — were voted first-team NTL Large
School Division all-stars for the second straight year in voting by the
Senior Megan Collins was a second-team selection.
Towanda sophomore Paige Manchester was named the NTL “Player of the Year,” while NEB’s Maisie Neuber was voted the “Offensive Player of the Year,” Towanda’s Porschia Bennett was tabbed the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and Wyalusing’s Olivia Leichliter was named the “Sixth Man of the Year.”
Miller directed the Lady Wildcats to a 17-7 record in 2021, including a 54-42 win over Milton in the District 4, Class AAAA quarterfinals. The season ended in the semis with a 32-25 loss at Shamokin.
Athens is 39-12 under Miller the last two seasons.
Caydence Macik, junior, Athens: An athletic low-post player, Macik was a standout on both ends of the floor for the Lady Wildcats.
Macik led Athens at 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 2 blocks per game. She also averaged 2 assists per game.
Kayleigh Miller, senior, Athens: A dead-eye shooter from behind the 3-point arc, Miller graduates fifth all-time on the school’s scoring list with 1,187 points, and first all-time with 222 career 3-pointers.
This season, Miller averaged 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 assists per game. She shot 80 percent from the free-throw line, and 40 percent from the field.
Also named to the first team were Towanda’s Erin Barrett, Wyalusing’s Callie Bennett, Wellsboro’s Emma Coolidge, and Troy’s Sidney Taylor.
Megan Collins, senior, Athens: A dangerous 3-point shooter, Collins averaged 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. She made 23 3-pointers on the season, and finished with 60 for her career.
Also named to the second team were Wyalusing’s Catherine Brown and Madison Putnam, Wellsboro’s Bailey Monks Towanda’s Amanda Horton, and Troy’s Rachel Kingsley.
COAL TOWNSHIP — Athens turned in its typical strong defensive effort,
but could not buy a ticket in a 32-25 loss to Shamokin here Monday night
in the quarterfinals of the District 4, Class AAAA girls basketball
“We didn’t shoot the ball that well, and we didn’t rebound on the offensive end,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. “So, if you don’t shoot the basketball well, and you don’t offensive rebounds, it’s tough to win a game like that.”
The Lady Wildcats shot 26 percent (10 of 38) from the field, including a 2-for-15 (13 percent) performance from behind the 3-point arc. The grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the game, but seven were in the first half.
MIller said the physical style of play also favored the Lady Indians.
“The nature of the game, with what the officials allowed … was a physical game,” said Miller. “When you have two teams that are physical and there are only seven fouls called, that’s a tough team to play against, especially for our team.”
Shamokin was whistled for eight fouls, and Athens was whistled for seven.
Athens took the lead on its first possession of the game on a nice low-post move by junior Caydence Macik, but Shamokin scored the next eight points.
Macik scored on another move in the low blocks with 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter, trimming the deficit to 8-4, and ending an Athens scoring drought that last 7 minutes and 11 seconds.
The Lady Wildcats were held without a field goal in the second quarter, and made just 3 of 7 free throw attempts, but their defense was stellar, limiting Shamokin to just six points in the stanza. The Lady Indians led 14-7 at the half.
“We scored seven points in the first half, and we were still in the game,” said Miller. “We felt like if we had made a couple shots, or cut out a couple of our defensive mistakes, we would have been right there.
“We did some good things, and played well defensively,” added Miller.
Athens cut the lead to two points, at 14-12, with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter on a lay-up by Macik, who moments later drained a 3-pointer from the top-of-the-key.
Shamokin used an 8-3 spurt over the next 3 1/2 minutes to push its lead back to 22-15.
Macik scored a pair of buckets in the final two minutes, sandwiched around a basket by Grace Nazih to trim the Shamokin lead to 24-19 heading into the final eight minutes.
“It seemed like there were several occasions where we would get the lead to two, and then it would be eight,” said Miller. “We’d make a nice run to get it back to three, and they would get it back out to eight. It was frustrating.”
Athens committed a pair of turnover on its first two possession of the fourth quarter, and the Lady Indians turned them into transition buckets by Madison Lippay and Nazih to stretch the lead to 28-19.
“(Shamokin) is too good of a defensive team to give easy baskets, and we’re not going to get those easy baskets, and we didn’t tonight,” said Miller. “Everything we got, we earned.
“When you’re playing a very good defensive team like Shamokin, it’s very tough to come back when you’re down like that,” added Miller.
Senior Hannah Blackman scored a bucket with 6:14 left in the game to make it 28-21. Nearly 3 1/2 minutes later, Macik scored to trim the deficit to 28-23.
Moments later, Nolter scored on a drive to the bucket to push the lead back to seven points, at 30-23, and end Shamokin’s 4-minute and 32-second scoring drought.
Macik led Athens with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Collins added five points, two steals, and two assists, senior Rachel Stephens grabbed five rebounds, sophomore Karlee Bartlow had three boards and two assists, and senior Kayleigh Miller was held scoreless for the first time since her freshman season, dished out two assists.
Athens finishes the season at 17-7.
The Lady Wildcats will graduate four seniors — Miller, Collins, Stephens, and Blackman.
“This was the 100th (varsity) basketball game for these seniors … they were 69-31; that’s pretty good,” said Miller. “For those girls to play that many games in four years is impressive.
“This is a great group of girls. They are good basketball players, and they are good kids.
“The Athens basketball community was truly lucky to watch these fours girls play the last four years,” noted Miller. “They brought exciting basketball to our school and were a pleasure to coach and watch.
“It will be difficult to replace them. It will tough to lose players like that who work hard in practice, and are leaders,” added Miller. “Hopefully, we can find someone to step up, and we can keep the program where it is.”
ATHENS — Athens built a 14-point lead early in the third quarter, but on
three different occasions over the next 12 minutes needed a “big shot”
to stave off a pesky Milton in a 54-42 win here Thursday night in the
quarterfinals of the District 4, Class AAAA girls basketball playoffs.
“It was a night where we played really well to get the lead,” said Athens girls coach Brian Miller. “(Milton) is a good team and they battled back, then we responded with big 3s from Kayleigh (Miller) and Megan (Collins), and a nice pass (from Megan Collins to Caydence Macik) for a finish in transition.
“I’m super-proud of the girls, we knew that team was going to battle for 32 minutes, no matter what, and we did a good job,” he added.
Senior Kayleigh Miller had 19 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots, and junior Caydence Macik had 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three blocked shots to lead Athens.
“(Miller and Macik) have been our offensive threats the last two years, and this year especially,” said Miller. “Megan (Collins) hit a couple big shots, but Caydence and Kayleigh have been our offense.
“We’re that much better of a team, though, if the other girls make their shots, and they did tonight,” added Miller.
Senior Megan Collins added nine points on a trio of 3-pointers, and five assists for the Lady Wildcats, while sophomore Karlee Bartlow added five points — all from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, and four rebounds, senior Rachel Stephens grabbed five boards, and senior Hannah Blackman chipped in with four rebounds.
Macik scored Athens’ first two buckets, then Miller gave the Lady Wildcats the lead for good, at 7-4, with a 3-pointer from the top-of-the-key with 5:02 remaining in the first quarter.
Macik added a putback of her own miss to make it 9-5 with 2:35 remaining. After a Milton bucket, Miller buried another 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 12-7 less than a minute later.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Miller late in the quarter extended the Athens lead to 25-12, but Milton scored the only bucket in the final 85 seconds of the first half, and trailed 25-14 heading into the locker room.
Collins buried her second 3-pointer of the game a little more than a minute into the second half, to give Athens a 28-14 lead, but Milton’s physical pressure defense helped it scored eight points in a row to cut the deficit to 38-32 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
“We wanted to come out in the second half and extend our lead, hopefully close to 20, and the game could be over,” said Miller.
“We got it to 14, then they made a nice push with some physical play in the backcourt,” added Miller. “We turned it over and they made some baskets, but we held our composure, and made some key shots down the stretch.”
Miller stopped Milton’s momentum with a 3-pointer from deep in the corner to make it 31-22 with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
After a bucket by Kiersten Stork trimmed the lead to 31-24, Macik made a pair of free throws, then scored in transition against the Lady Black Panther press to make it 35-24 with 1:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Freshman Emma Bronson connected on a short jumper just 10 seconds into the final stanza to give Athens a 37-26 lead, but a bucket by Stork, followed by a defensive rebound and coast-to-coast drive by Crystal Hamilton, and a jumper by Morgan Riener cut the lead to 37-32 with 6:27 left in the third quarter.
Collins stemmed the tide with a 3-pointer to make it 40-32, but Milton bounced back to cut the lead to 42-36 with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter.
The Milton pressure seemed to be wearing on the Lady Wildcats, but Collins found Macik open up court against the press for an uncontested lay-up to make it 44-36.
A pair of free throws by Miller and Bartlow would push the lead to 48-36 with 3:39 remaining.
Milton would close the gap to nine points twice in the final 3 1/2 minutes but could get no closer.
Hamilton led Milton with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“I saw (Hamilton) on tape and knew the was good, but seeing her in person you can really appreciate that’s she is a really good ball player,” said Miller. “Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for the Lady Wildcats, she fouled out, and didn’t get to play the last couple minutes.”
Leah Walter scored eight points for Milton, while Stork added seven, and Reiner chipped in with six.
The third-seeded Lady Wildcats, now 17-6, will travel to second-seeded Shamokin (10-5) Monday at 7 p.m. for a Class AAAA semi-final match-up.
ATHENS — Athens shook off a sluggish first half, and outscored Troy,
40-8, in the second half to deliver coach Brian Miller his 300th career
victory — a 53-22 decision over Troy — here Tuesday night in NTL Large
School girls basketball action.
Miller, who is in his third year at Athens, won 254 games as head coach at Waverly.
“It has been a great journey for the last 19 years,” said Miller. “I have enjoyed coaching young athletes and having so many successful teams at both schools.
“I have made so many friendships over the years with coaches, referees, parents, media, and many more.
“It has been a great ride and I am lucky person,” added Miller.
It was also a milestone night for Coach Miller’s daughter, Kayleigh, who knocked down her 200th (and 201st) career 3-pointer, and is just one away from tying the school record held by Mallory Hafer.
Senior Megan Collins knocked down a 3-pointer and scored five points in the first quarter to help the Lady Wildcats to a 9-5 lead, but the Lady Trojans used a 9-4 seconds-quarter run to take a 14-13 lead into the halftime locker room.
“We missed some shots versus the triangle-and-two in the first half, and looked a little slow,” said Miller. “Maybe the long road trip to Benton was a factor in that.
“We came out with a lot of energy in the second half and used a lot of pressure to create some nice scoring opportunities,” he added.
Kayleigh Miller knocked down her milestone 3-pointer, and was also 3-for-3 from the free-throw line after being fouled on a shot from behind the 3-point arc, and junior Caydence Macik also scored six points in the frame, while Collins buried her second 3-pointer and scored five points to fuel a 19-4 run that gave Athens a commanding 32-18 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Collins canned a pair of 3-pointers, and Miller once again connected on a 3-pointer and was 3-for-3 after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. The Lady Wildcats outscored Troy, 21-4, in the final stanza.
Collins led Athens with a career-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers on just six shots from behind the arc, while Macik scored 15 points and hauled down nine boards, and Miller, who was held scoreless in the first half, had 12 points and four steals.
Sophomore Karlee Bartlow added four points, five rebounds, and four assists, while freshman Mya Thompson had four points, three boards, and three steals, sophomore Emma Bronson dished out five assists, and senior Rachel Stephens chipped in with five rebounds, and two blocked shots.
Sydney Taylor led Troy with 14 points, and Hannah Zimmerman and Rachel Kingsley added four points apiece.
Athens, now 11-3 overall and 4-2 in NTL Large School divisional play, hosts Wellsboro Thursday.
NOTES: The Athens Lady Wildcats all donned T-shirts prior to the game that read “No One Fights Alone” to honor coach Miller, who is successfully battling cancer. … The girls basketball program raised $1,000 for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and donated it in Coach Miller’s name.
BENTON — Athens built a double-digit lead in the first half, then blew
the game wide-open in the third quarter of a 50-17 rout of Benton here
Monday night in non-league girls basketball action.
The Lady Wildcats held to just one field goal in the first quarter, and seven points in the first half.
“We played great defense all night,” said Athens coach Brian Miller.
Athens also had 15 assists on just 20 field goals in the win.
“We had outstanding ball movement tonight, to get some nice baskets,” said Miller. “We shared the ball very well tonight.”
Senior Kayleigh Miller and junior Caydence Macik combined to score all of Athens’ points in a 13-2 first quarter run.
Athens used an 8-5 spurt in the second quarter to stretch its lead to 21-7.
Miller scored eight points, including a 3-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play, in the third quarter, while Macik added six points, and seniors Megan Collins and Rachel Stephens chipped in with five and four, respectively, to fuel a 23-6 outburst that extended the Lady Wildcat advantage to 44-13 entering the final eight minutes.
Macik led Athens with 20 points, 10 rebounds, eight steals, five assists, and two blocked shot, and
Miller had 17 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, six steals, five assists, and three rebounds.
Collins added five points, three rebounds, and two assists in the win, while Stephens chipped in with four points, three boards, and one blocked shot, and freshman Mya Thompson recorded eight steals.
Gracey Baker led Benton with eight points.
Athens, now 10-3, hosts Troy Tuesday night.
TOWANDA — Towanda knocked down a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth
quarter to rally for a 38-35 win over Athens here Saturday afternoon in
NTL junior varsity girls basketball action.
Karlee Bartlow scored five points and Abby Champion added four points to help Athens an 11-6 lead after the first quarter.
Destiny Brennan and Gracie Schoonover combined for 13 points in the second quarter to fuel a 13-8 spurt that tied the game at 19-19 at the half.
Emma Bronson scored four points in the third quarter in a 9-6 spurt that gave the junior Wildcats a 28-25 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Brennan and Eliza Fowler each drained 3-pointers, and Bella Hurley made a pair of free throws as Towanda used a 13-7 run to pull out the win.
Bartlow led Athens with 16 points, six boards, four steals, two assists, and one blocked shot, while Bronson had 11 points, five steals, two assists, and one blocked shot, Champion added four points and three rebounds, and Mya Thompson hauled down 14 rebounds, recorded six steals, and blocked two shots.
Brennan led Towanda with 11 points, and Schoonover added 10 points.
Athens returns to action Monday at Benton.