After earning a pair of big wins last weekend, the Bulldogs look ready to make one final push for first place in the Tri-Valley Conference.
Tuesday's game against the Alexander Spartans (10-9, 7-3 TVC) will serve as a strong opportunity for Athens (11-6, 7-2 TVC) to extend its winning streak and garner more confidence as the Bulldogs close out the season and head into the playoffs.
Athens is currently on a three-game win streak, in which it has beaten its last three opponents by an average difference of 21 points. Since going 3-5 in January, the Bulldogs have started out the new month going 2-0 and winning four of their last five games.
"We’re playing well," coach Mickey Cozart said. "Dalton (Cozart) is shooting the ball well, Griffin (Lutz) is making great decisions and my two bigs are playing outstanding. I’m pretty happy with where we’re at.”
Alexander won't be the toughest team Athens will face this year, but the Bulldogs would be wise to not take the Spartans lightly.
Alexander currently sit in the middle of the TVC standings, but have recently beaten the conference's biggest foe — a 73-71 upset over Vinton County to snap their perfect record.
If Athens fails to get out in front early, Alexander is certainly capable of pouncing and the Bulldogs could have a trap game on their hands.
The last time the Bulldogs played the Spartans, Athens won 39-26.
To complete the season sweep of the Spartans, the Bulldogs will continue to rely on strong play from the bench. In last weekend's pair of wins, Athens picked up a heavy dose of points from some unlikely names.
Junior Robert Dickelman and sophomores Logan Maxfield, Eli Chubb and Justin Hynes contributed a combined 41 points in the 74-49 win against Bishop Watterson, which helped ease pressure off of the team's usual point-scorer, Lutz, who only contributed 11 points that night.
If the same trend from the weekend continues, the Bulldogs should have no problem picking up another conference win. Alexander averages 49 points per game while giving up 44, while Athens scores an average of 66 points per game and allowing 55.
The game should be an easy one for the Bulldogs, but with just five games left in the season, they have no more room for error as they look to finish at the top of the TVC.