Mickey Cozart leaned backward in frustration. His Bulldogs turned the ball yet over again.
Athens turned over the ball 17 times in its 62-53 loss to Miami Trace in The Convo on Thursday night.
“We just made some bad decisions,” Cozart said. “It just got away from us.”
Miami Trace scored 16 points off of turnovers and those points in transition were the key. The third quarter was where the Bulldogs saw the game slip away. They turned the ball over 10 times.
“We didn’t play a very good third quarter,” Cozart said simply.
Miami Trace ran a half-court press that was forcing the Bulldogs into those mistakes. The Bulldogs had been working on the press from both sides of the ball in practice.
“We knew it was coming,” Cozart said. “We knew we had to get rid of it, but we didn’t sometimes.”
When the Bulldogs cut Miami Trace’s lead, and eventually took a small lead of their own, they were able to push the ball through the press and make easy baskets.
Dalton Cozart led the Bulldogs with 13 points, and Logan Maxfield scored eight.
Maxfield, a sophomore, sparked a Bulldogs 7-1 run that put them back into the game.
In the second half of the season, Maxfield has played a critical role for the Bulldogs, and will provide a scoring threat moving forward.
“(Maxfield’s) confidence is growing and he’s getting better and better,” Cozart said. “He’s got a bright future.”
That marks the last game for the three Athens seniors, including Griffin Lutz, a 1,000 point scorer.
Trey Martin made a basket to score in his final game right before the final buzzer.
“You feel bad for the seniors, but it always ends,” Cozart said. “It ends for every senior.”
As the Bulldogs season ends, some positives can be drawn from this season. A young team that won its sectional will bring back four of five starters for next year, bringing the experience of playing at The Convo with them.
“To be able to play here and go out here,” Cozart asked. “That’s better than going out at Logan.”