Updated Sat, Jan 7, 2012 1:01 am
The Athens Bulldogs got the best of the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes on the football field this season, but the Buckeyes got even on the hardwood defeating the Bulldogs in an overtime thriller, 61-54.
Senior point-guard Casey Cox hit the game-tying 3-pointer to send the barn-burner into overtime. Cox led the Buckeyes (7-3, 2-1) with 22 points; 17 of them being in the second-half.
“In his mind he had it done,” Coach Kline regarding Cox buzzer-beater. “We had that play designed for him from the beginning.”
The Bulldogs (5-4, 2-2) fought hard in a back-and-forth game. The game was even throughout the first quarter and most of the second, but Athens made a short run to put them ahead by 7 at the half. Nelsonville-York had a hard time getting shots to fall in the first half, making only 9-of-28 shots from the field.
Coach Kline made it a point to turn up the defense in the second-half and that is ultimately what won the Buckeyes the game. Kline’s squad created a lot of turnovers in the third quarter, which in turn gave them easy baskets on the offensive end.
“I was disappointed in our first-half play because I thought we were playing down to Athens tempo,” said Coach Kline. “The second half I thought we stepped it up and played to our tempo.”
The experience that the Buckeyes have as a team gives them an edge over most of the other teams in the conference. The senior class has not won a total of eight games in a season and half-way through this season they have already won seven.
Junior Austin North added 16 points for the Buckeyes and went a perfect 10-of-10 from the line in the second half. Freshman Ryan Luehrman led the Bulldogs with 21 points and senior Josh Skinner added another 13 points, 12 being from behind the arc.
The Buckeyes have been road warriors so far this season winning all 5 games away from Buchtel. They hope to keep their winning streak going when they stay at home for their next game against Alexander (2-7, 1-2) on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Athens will try to bounce back on Saturday at Marietta (4-5, 1-4).