With all of Athens’ starters on the bench early in the fourth quarter, it was time to have some fun. It was the end of Athens' 88-38 win over Wellston on Tuesday night in Charles McAfee Gymnasium.
So when Elijah Williams was on the fast break and threw a behind-the-back pass, the crowd roared and the starters rose off the bench in awe.
Or when Robert Dickelman hit a step-back mid-range jump shot and Logan Maxfield stood up from the bench and waved his hands, wearing a huge smile. Then, Dickelman took a charge on the other end and then came off for a substitute, almost every Bulldog on the bench was dancing.
“It was fun,” coach Mickey Cozart said in his typical coy fashion.
The fun Athens had tonight is representative of what has been the last three weeks for the Bulldogs. Tuesday marks their sixth straight win, and the Bulldogs continue to play the best basketball they have all season.
They shot 65 percent from the floor Tuesday. A lot of the baskets made by the Bulldogs came in transition, with 20 steals and 40 points off turnovers.
Wellston would bring the ball up the court, only for it to be stolen near the top of the key and taken the other way for an easy layup. Williams had six steals, and if he didn’t run the fast break himself, he was passing it up to Maxfield, who finished with 18 points.
And when Athens wasn’t on the fast break, it played well both inside and out. The Bulldogs shot 47 percent from 3-point, with Isaiah Butcher making all three of his attempts from the perimeter.
“(Wellston) kind of ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” Cozart said. “We’re still riding high from the last game, guys are playing confident.”
Athens is now back to .500 on the season at 9-9. The six-game winning streak has changed the mood for the Bulldogs. Cozart said after Athens’ Jan. 30 win against Jackson that not many people probably believed in his team to that point — that was after win number four of the streak.
And now, after six wins, more people have confidence in the Bulldogs, not just the players in the on the team.
“Guys are excited, fans are excited, coaches can sleep a little better,” Cozart said. “Those two-hour sleepless nights when you are 3-9, those are rough nights.”