Updated Thu, Feb 13, 2014 10:31 am
Screams emanated from the crowd at Logan High School, as the Athens fans roared “five seconds.” The Bulldogs had forced another of New Lexington’s 18 turnovers from their stifling defense.
The Athens Lady Bulldogs used tight defense and a strong second half Wednesday to pull away from the New Lexington Lady Panthers in a 68-42 win.
The Lady Panthers (7-12) looked the better team in the first quarter and after going up 15-7 by the end of the first eight minutes, fans started to question whether Athens’ (21-1, 10-0 in TVC-Ohio) most recent loss to Jackson, its only loss of the season, was still on its players’ minds.
“Things weren’t falling for us,” Athens guard Olivia Harris said. “Once we picked up our defense, it got our offense to [provide] the answer.”
The Lady Bulldogs brought their traveling delegation to ease, using a stringent full-court press and capitalizing off of the Lady Panthers’ mistakes to mount a comeback.
The crowning moment of the second quarter occurred when Harris missed her two free throws, to the dismay of the dejected Athens’ fans, but Dominique Doseck came swooping in to grab the rebound and make a layup that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 22-20 lead, their first of the game.
Doseck was the offensive outlet for the ‘Dogs, tabbing 19 points, 3 assists and a rebound.
Athens would take that score line into the locker room and that is where coach Wayne Horsley would work his magic.
“We knew we needed to pressure them,” Harris said. “We had two people running after the ball sometimes and we got them out of their comfort zone.”
Athens came out of the break a new team, using an 11-3 run to take the fire out of New Lexington’s eyes. The ‘Dogs stayed attentive on defense, batting away any open look their opponent had.
This would lead to a lopsided second half as Athens would dominate the game in garbage time and keep the Panthers at arm’s length, only allowing them to score eight points in the final quarter without the use of many of their starters.
Rachael Gilkey was another bright spot for Athens, as well, with 15 points and four rebounds.
The ‘Dogs will now focus on their sectional final matchup with Warren set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Logan High School.