The first two games of the season was not the start Athens was looking for, as the Bulldogs lost their first two games. They lost to Gallia Academy, 45-35, and Waverly, 60-54, but Athens was able to learn a few things.

Here are five things from the first two games of the season:

Depth of forwards

Having three players that stand over six-feet-four is an advantage that Athens has over almost every other team in southeast Ohio. Most teams like Gallia, which Athens played Friday, have one or maybe two players that are that tall.

Isaiah Butcher and Justin Hynes start for the Bulldogs as a strong duo with different skillsets. Butcher is a forward who can stretch the floor with his three-point shooting, while Hynes scores his points inside.

Adding in Josh Mace, who is similar to Hynes, creates a trio of forwards who can matchup with any team in the area.

With Butcher getting in early foul trouble Saturday against Waverly, Athens coach Mickey Cozart was still was able to rotate Hynes and Mace while still being the better team in the post.  

Reliable Logan Maxfield

Logan Maxfield is the top scorer for Athens through two games, with his ability to drive to the basket and hit three-pointers. 

On multiple occasions against Waverly, Maxfield was able to catch the defense getting back slowly, as he used his speed to get easy layups. 

Maxfield is one of the hardest working Bulldogs on the defensive end. He showed this off by diving for loose balls and being a key part of the zone defense. 

Emergence of Brayden Whiting

Sophomore Brayden Whiting has made an impact in both games as one of the key players for the Bulldogs off the bench. 

Cozart expected Whiting to score, and he has, with 11 points through two games. He doesn’t have to score a lot for Athens, but the bench play is helpful. Whiting just has to contribute where he can when opponents leave him open while trying to stop one of Athens’ top scorers.

Whiting will have some mistakes as he adjusts to the level of play, but he has to play for him to get better and become a bigger part of the Athens’ offense. 

Need for more ball handlers

Athens has one main point guard on the roster, Elijah Williams, and if he is out, then Eli Chubb takes over bringing the ball up the court.

Chubb has had some experience in practice being the point guard, and he was able to use his size against Waverly to break the press it played on some occasions. Williams sat for large portions of the second half against Waverly due to foul trouble, forcing Chubb to be the primary ball handler.

In games when the opponent doesn’t press, having Chubb as the point guard gives Athens an advantage due to his size, bit he does not have the same speed as Williams. 

From downtown

The size of the Athens forwards and the focus of the offense getting the ball into the post opens up 3-point opportunities for the guards. Athens has a good number of 3-point shooters that are able to get open shots.

If the Bulldogs can become more of a threat from beyond the arc, they’ll make the team better in the post, as defenses struggle to guard both areas.

The next game for Athens is Friday against River Valley, followed by a matchup against Chesapeake on Saturday. 

@TheEricWalker

ew399115@ohio.edu

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