Coming off their biggest victory of the season, the Bulldogs look to build off the win in their upcoming games while also closing in on their first conference championship since 2015.

Athens’ (13-4, 9-1 Tri-Valley Conference-Ohio) 53-38 victory over Alexander (12-5, 8-2 TVC-Ohio) on Saturday was seen as the de facto conference championship, but the Bulldogs still have some work to do before that becomes official.

Coach Mickey Cozart wants to make sure the team is focused on the games ahead of them and not looking ahead to the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.

“We haven’t won this league yet,” Cozart said. “We have to take care of the conference first before we start talking about Sectionals.”

Athens has four games left in the season, with two of those being TVC matchups. One of the conference games takes place Friday, as the Bulldogs take on Meigs (10-9, 5-4 TVC-Ohio).

Cozart knows that the Marauders could be somewhat of a trap game for the team, so he is making it a point of emphasis for the Bulldogs to be ready for this important conference battle.

“We better be ready for [Meigs], because they can play,“ Cozart said.

Something Athens has done well year is defend, and that is something Cozart wants to make sure continues as the season winds down. Staying aggressive and playing suffocating defense has been a staple for the team this season, whether it be in the 2-3 zone or their man-to-man defense.

The Bulldogs and the Marauders first met this season on Jan. 4, where Athens came away with a 54-41 victory. In the game, Logan Maxfield led all scorers with 19 points. 

Tipoff on Friday will be at 7:30 p.m. at McAfee Gymnasium.

The day after Athens take on Meigs, they will travel to play Lancaster (5-14).

Tipoff on Saturday will be at 7:30 p.m. at Lancaster High School.