Updated Sat, Feb 1, 2014 11:17 am
The Athens Bulldogs (13-3, 7-0) emerged victorious over the Vinton County Vikings (8-6, 5-2) in a game that was essentially the TVC-Ohio championship matchup, by a final score of 64-50.
Zacchia Saltzman had a standout game for Athens. The sophomore came off the bench to score 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
“I just try to bring the energy,” Saltzman said. “Sometimes, my teammates need me to contribute more than usual. This was a big game, pretty much the TVC title match. I knew that we had to clinch it here.”
Ibi Watson led the Bulldogs’ attack with 17 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Ryan Luehrman added 14 points and 5 boards for Athens.
Vinton County was led by Alex Owings and Jordan Albright, as both canned 13 points. Sophomore center Chase Wood had 12 points and 4 rebounds for the Vikings in their losing effort.
Vinton County was overmatched by the size of Athens throughout the game, and the disparity showed up on the stat sheet. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Vikings 29-12 and converted several second-chance point opportunities.
Athens ran away from Vinton County late in the second quarter. A Viking run caused Athens to call a timeout when they saw their lead shrink to 15-11, but the ‘Dogs closed the half on a 15-6 run to pull away.
The Vikings attempted to close the gap with a barrage of threes in the second half. Despite their impressive 44 percent shooting from beyond the arc, Vinton County wasn’t able to come closer than 10 points. The Vikes were plagued all night by their lack of a post presence. Vinton County’s guards were hesitant to drive the lane after getting blocked by Athens five times in the first half.
Athens’ win puts them atop the TVC-Ohio by two games. The No. 12 Division II team in Ohio will travel to Vincent, Ohio, on Monday to take on the Warren Warriors.
Vinton County will look to bounce back on Tuesday when they host Logan.