Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Athens High School's Brayden Whiting passes the ball to a teammate. The Athens Bulldogs beat the Vinton County Vikings 72-63 on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (FILE)

Athens Basketball: Bulldogs advance to third round of state tournament with win over New Lexington

The No. 6-seeded Athens defeated No. 14-seeded New Lexington 61-50 at Jim Myers Gymnasium in Logan on Friday night after an excellent defensive performance by the Bulldogs.

Both teams opened the first half with stifling defense, resulting with only 18 total points at the end of the first. The Bulldogs lead 10-8.

The Panthers defense gave the Bulldogs fits early in the game by implementing a 1-3-1 defense. Athens was able to build a 27-20 lead at half, however, despite the strong defensive effort by New Lexington. 

After halftime, New Lexington switched to man-to-man defense, which made it easier for the Bulldogs to attack near the basket.

Coach Mickey Cozart and the Bulldogs implemented a zone of their own which smothered New Lexington. Despite it working well, Cozart said the team’s goal was not to use it.

“Due to circumstances, we had to go back to it,” Cozart said. “What they do well is take that aggressive side and still manage to do it. We counter that by running a press, so that keeps everyone aggressive and flying around.”

Besides playing solid defense, Athens spread the scoring out well between its starters with four of the five scoring in double figures. Brayden Whiting led the Bulldogs with 16 points. 

The Bulldogs needed their starters to perform at this level because they were the only players to score for Athens. Only two players came off the bench for the Bulldogs, and neither of them recorded points. This was Athens’ second game in a row where only starters scored.

The Braydens — Whiting and Markins — were Athens’ top scorers Friday as they have been for much of the season. They combining for 29 of Athens’ 61 total points. Whenever New Lexington cut into the Athens lead, one of them always seemed to find a clutch field goal to cushion the lead.

“It means a lot,“ Cozart said. “When things get crazy, it seems like one of those guys comes through, so it’s nice to have them.”

Athens was picked to finish fourth in the Tri-Valley Conference this season. Now, it’s moving on to play in The Convo next weekend in the third round of the state tournament on Feb. 29 at 8:45 p.m. against either Jackson or Logan Elm.

“We’re used to being doubted,“ Cozart said. “We played to break that all year.” 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH