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#15 (not on roster) drives to the basket against Wellston High School on January 13th, 2016 STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER|MATT STARKEY

Athens basketball: Bulldogs hoping to rebound against Warren

At first glance, it may appear that the Bulldogs (7-4, 4-1 Tri-Valley Conference) are destined to fall to the Warren Warriors (14-2) on Saturday night, which would extend their losing streak to three games.

But a closer look inside the two teams suggests that it actually should be a competitive game.

Athens are currently on a two-game losing skid, its first losing streak of the season, and are just 1-3 in its last four games. Warren are currently riding a six-game win streak, with its most recent win coming against Parkersburg, who the Bulldogs fell to previously this season.

Since returning from their extended winter break, the Bulldogs haven't been the same team. The offense has struggled to put up consistent scoring runs and find points outside of the paint, while the defense has looked sluggish at times and has found trouble with corralling rebounds.

Some of these problems can be chalked up to the fact the the Bulldogs are in their toughest stretch of the schedule this season. With three games in five days and over eight hours on the bus, the best cure for Athens may just simply be rest.

With three days to regroup following last Tuesday's game, Athens should have its best shot at turning things around against Warren on Saturday night.

"We got to be smart," Cozart said. "Warren’s a great basketball team. We have to be aggressive and we got to go in there with the mindset that we’re there to win."

Statistically, Athens and Warren line up equally. The Bulldogs have averaged 65 points per game, and have averaged 51 points allowed per game. The Warriors have averaged 66 points per game, and have given up an average of 53 points.

To win, the Bulldogs will need to do what they've been looking to do for the past several games — pick up the pace on the offensive attack, and defensively force the opponent's offense to shoot from low-percentage areas.

With Meigs also losing their game last Tuesday, the Bulldogs now have a 1.5 game lead in the second spot in the TVC. A win should give the Bulldogs a bit more cushion as they take on a string of TVC opponents following Saturday's game.

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