Athens (9-16, 6-6 Tri-Valley Conference-Ohio) needed its best effort Friday night to have any chance to upset No.1 seeded Waverly (19-4) in the Division II Southeast 1 sectional finals. However, Athens was outmatched by the No. 1 team and was dominated 77-48.
The Bulldogs were outmatched from opening tip. The Tigers held a 15-point lead by the end of the first quarter. Although the Bulldogs were able to cut the deficit to 11 points before halftime, the Tigers went on another run and carried a 41-21 lead into the break. The Bulldogs were never able to recoup and lost by a 29-point margin.
The Bulldogs shot well enough, shooting 47% from the field by the end of the game. However, they struggled from beyond the arc, going 3-of-9 from the field. Nathan Shadik and Derrick Welsh were the only two Bulldogs able to knock down shots from beyond the arc. Both shot 50% from 3-point range.
The thorn in the Bulldogs' side was the 22 total turnovers they committed in the losing effort.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs' center, Welsh, shined in his final game. The senior scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Shadik also had a solid night with 12 points, two rebounds and two assists. Landon Wheatley was the only other Bulldog to score in double figures. Wheatley ended the game with 10 points and led the team with three assists.
The Bulldogs didn't perform at the level necessary to upset Waverly. They were the No. 16 seeded team ahead of Friday, and they barely escaped with a win over Circleville in the sectional semifinals. It wasn't the win the Bulldogs were hoping for, but they held their own against the Tigers. A solid performance against a strong opponent might be a promising sign for next season.