Updated Wed, Feb 13, 2013 12:48 am
After the Athens Bulldogs soundly defeated the Vinton County Vikings in their first matchup in mid January, the Vikings were looking forward to a highly anticipated a rematch with the Bulldogs on their home court.
By striking the Bulldogs with an energetic and balanced attack on both sides of the ball, Vinton County evened the season series tonight, beating Athens 58-55.
A loud and energetic home crowd boosted the Vikings from the start and leading them to an early first quarter lead that they never relinquished. Strong Vikings defensive pressure forced multiple turnovers and really disrupted the majority of Athens’ shooters.
Bulldogs star Joe Burrow struggled throughout the game and was held to 25 percent from the field. With the added absence of the injured Zacchia Saltzman, the Bulldog offense struggled while Vinton County’s attack featured three players with nine points or more.
The Bulldogs, however, did not say die. After Vinton County stretched their lead to 51-41 early in the fourth quarter, Athens clawed their way back with a 9-1 run and only a two-point deficit by the leadership of freshman Ibi Watson.
Watson provided nearly all of the Bulldogs’ offensive spark with 31 total points and a stretch to close the game where he missed only one of eight shots.
With only a three-point deficit and possession of the ball in the final minute, Burrow failed to convert on two three-point shots, putting the Vikings on the foul line to seal the game and secure the win.
Athens wraps up their regular season schedule on Friday night at home against the Alexander Spartans, while Vinton County faces off against Wellston and Nelsonville-York at home over the weekend.