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Boys' Basketball: Bulldogs shoots for piece of TVC-Ohio pie

Athens (9-9)

The typical mantra in football and basketball is that defense wins championships. Athens is taking that to heart.

After a five-game losing streak in which the Bulldogs could not hold an opponent under 60 points, Athens has now won four of its past six games with its opponents’ failing to reach 40 in each of the wins.

Although he is happy with his defense, coach Jeff Skinner said he feels the recent defensive success has a lot to do with the opposition.

“The games we lost to on that streak were to very good teams,” Skinner said. “Sometimes, you’re a great matchup for somebody else, while sometimes, somebody else is going to be a great matchup for you.”

Athens’ 54-35 drubbing of Wellston Tuesday night was mixture of a matchup advantage and stellar execution on the defensive end.

“Our boys really did a good job of executing the zone defense,” Skinner said. “We had a good rotation going and excellent exchanges on the perimeter.”

That shutdown defense will have to continue if the Bulldogs want to come out of the weekend with a share of the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio crown. Athens will face Meigs Thursday at home before traveling to Nelsonville-York Saturday in the season finale. Even if Athens wins out, it would still need a Vinton County loss Friday night at Wellston to share the title.

— Christian Hoppens,


Alexander (4-14)

Instead of having five wins on the season and preparing for one game to finish out the regular season, Alexander had its forfeit win retracted and will face Martin Luther King to close out the season after a game against Nelsonville-York.

The one bright spot for Alexander is that it will play its final two regular season games at home.

“It’s nice because we want to finish off the season on a winning note,” head coach Blaine Gabriel said. “We’re preparing to win two games this weekend and then start the tournament.”

The Spartans will begin the weekend by playing the Buckeyes, a team they defeated earlier in the season on the road.

Gabriel said he believes the confidence of winning the first game against the Buckeyes will help his squad but also said his team needs to remain focused.

“We know that we can play with just about anyone on our schedule,” he said. “It’ll be senior night, so a lot of emotions will be going on, but we just try to keep it in perspective that it’s just another game on our schedule,” Gabriel said.

— Paul Meara,


Nelsonville-York (11-7)

A 72-64 loss at Vinton County Tuesday night ended Nelsonville-York’s hopes of a Tri-Valley Conference title, but there is still much for the Buckeyes to play for this season.

Despite sitting in fourth in the TVC-Ohio division, four wins behind the Vikings, the Buckeyes received the No. 1 seed in the Division III Athens 3rd sectional at Sunday’s seeding meeting.

Nelsonville-York will play the winner of River Valley and Crooksville on Feb. 24 at Athens High School. The Buckeyes have beaten River Valley twice this season and handled the Crooksville Ceramics 71-65 Jan. 30.

Despite a promising tournament draw, Nelsonville-York still has work to do against two certain Athens County rivals before it can focus on post-season play. The Buckeyes next play at Alexander and will certainly be looking for revenge for a Spartan win in Nelsonville back on Jan. 10. The loss to Alexander ended Nelsonville-York’s five-game win streak.

The Buckeyes will then host the Bulldogs this weekend in a game that was postponed from Feb. 11 because of weather precautions.

Nelsonville-York beat Athens on Jan. 6, in a dramatic game at Athens’ McAfee Gymnasium.

— Nathan Cotton,

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