Updated Wed, Feb 13, 2013 3:09 pm
After a year of great success and growth, coach Wayne Horsely and his Athens Lady Bulldogs enter the sectional tournament with the No. 3 seed and look to improve off of their playoff performance from a year ago. The Lady Bulldogs received a first-round bye and a matchup with the Lady Generals of Sheridan at Meigs High School on Feb. 14.
The Lady Bulldogs suffered an early first round exit from the playoffs last year to the hands of the Fairfield Union Falcons in a tight defensive scrum and greatly suffered from the lack of offensive production from freshman sensation Dominique Doseck. Doseck, hindered by a knee injury, only managed to score 11 points throughout the game, stalling the Athens offense.
This year, Athens looks to move further through the playoff bracket with strong defense and a far more dynamic offensive attack.
While the offense still focuses on young star Doseck, other Bulldogs such as Olivia Harris and Hannah DeBruin have found a niche of their own. The talent doesn’t stop at the guards, however. Senior Emma Stanley has provided leadership and size in the paint to grab rebounds and force difficult shots down low for opponents. This team, winners of their last eight games, has been rolling and hopes to carry their success into Thursday night’s playoff opener.
The Sheridan Lady Generals come to the sectional playoffs with the No. 6 seed and an 11-9 record, looking to pull off an upset of the Lady Bulldogs. Sheridan’s last matchup against the Lady Bulldogs came in the first round of the 2010-2011 season’s playoffs where Sheridan knocked off Athens 53-43 to keep their season alive. Defeating this year’s Lady Bulldogs squad seems to be a far more daunting task. The Lady Bulldogs finished the regular season on a 10-game win streak while the Lady Generals will stumble in to the playoffs riding a three-game losing streak.
“Athens has more strengths than weaknesses,” Sheridan soach Doug Fisher said. “So instead of trying to exploit any of those, we are just going to try and do the things we do well. We have to shoot the ball better than we have in the past three or four games. The bottom line is that game will come down to making shots & scoring points.”
Coach Fisher also believes that their record can be misleading and that the strength of their conference will help them come playoff time.
While the numbers show a strong Athens advantage, Coach Wayne Horsely isn’t looking over the Lady Generals.
“They have very good guards. They’re very athletic and probably the fastest that we’ve seen all year,” Horsely said, “They’ve got a nice big inside player at six-foot-one, so we’re going to continue to play good defense and we’ll have to be pretty efficient offensively.”