After winning seven straight games, Athens ended the season with two losses in games that the Bulldogs struggled offensively.
Athens was outmatched Friday night in a 71-46 loss to Logan, in which the defense could not stop Bo Myers, who scored 37 points and the Bulldogs’ offense committed 17 turnovers.
Looking to rebound Saturday, Athens fell behind early and could only get as close as four to Jackson, falling 57-53.
Athens (16-6, 11-1 TVC-Ohio) is a No. 4 seed in the Division 2 Sectional/ District bracket. Here are four things about the Bulldogs from this weekend’s two games:
Inconsistent 3-point shooting
Coming into the season Athens was expecting itself to be a good 3-point shooting team to complement the size it has in the post. That’s not happened this season, as the Bulldogs have struggled to make 3s.
Athens has a number of players who can make 3s, but they’ve all struggled to make shots at the same time.
On Tuesday, Athens made eight 3s against Wellston and it looked like it had begun to find some consistency. That didn’t happen, Athens missed all 10 of its 3s on Friday against Logan. The Bulldogs made eight against Jackson on Saturday.
Isaiah Butcher’s been the best 3-point shooter for Athens recently. It showed Saturday as he made five of his nine attempts.
Athens does not need to make eight 3s to win games, but just enough to keep defenses worrying about it, so they are unable to focus all their efforts on defending the post.
All season-long Athens has been plagued by turnovers. Most games the Bulldogs turn it over in double-digits.
Part of that is the style of offense that Athens, which has some risks in it for passes to get stolen. Some of the turnovers were because of good defense while others were ones that could have been avoided with better passing and communication.
Part of that is starting point guard Elijah Williams, who missed six-and-a-half of the quarters in the two games due to an injury.
Athens has had to play without Williams for four games this season. In those games, players had to play out of position to take over ball-handling responsibilities. Eli Chubb and Brayden Markins have been the two main players to play point guard.
Consistent post scoring
In almost all of Athens’ games this season it has had the size advantage and a focus of the offense is getting the ball into the post.
Having two players, Justin Hynes and Isaiah Butcher, who are able to score and use their physical presence helps the Bulldogs.
Even if one of them gets in foul trouble, Athens is still able to play through the post with the other one.
Butcher’s 3-point shooting ability is able to extend opponents’ defense and create space in the post for Hynes. Butcher is one of the best passers on the team, so he is able to find Hynes with space to make his shot.
Individual scoring runs
Each game Athens has multiple players have a stretch where they are making the shots for the Bulldogs and it relies on those scoring runs to have good offensive games.
Eight of the 13 second quarter points for Athens against Logan were scored by Butcher, but he only managed two points the rest of the game.
Chubb had 8 of Athens’ 10 first quarter points Saturday against, but only scored three more points in the final three quarters. Chubb then got in foul trouble that made him sit on the bench and lose the rhythm that he was in at the start.
With a balanced scoring attack, it is crucial for Athens to find the hot hand each quarter, but also need to have players scoring consistently throughout the game.
After playing five games in the last nine days Athens will be able to get some rest before its Section Championship Game against Logan Elm on Friday.