Athens Rolls Over New Lexington 76-43 In Season Opener

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The Athens Bulldogs opened up the 2013-2014 campaign by steamrolling the New Lexington Panthers 76-43 at home on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs had a successful year last year going 18-4 and making a solid run in the state playoffs, but they were really focused on starting off the season with a win and especially wanted to get out to a quick start against the Panthers.

"We weren't really worried about the score. We just tried to get as much flow as we could and get better. That's what we look for in every game," said sophomore forward Ibi Watson.

The Bulldogs' main focus seems clear–they want to get as much chemistry going as fast as possible to get on a good hot streak early.

They definitely showed that on Tuesday night as Athens opened up on an 8-0 run before the Panthers had to use a timeout. Joey Burrow had six of the first eight points and was 2 of 2 from 3-point range during the first couple of minutes.

The Bulldogs never let up for a minute as they took a convincing 41-19 lead into the half. Burrow finished the half with 8 points and was 3 of 4 from the field. Watson also had a sensational first half  dropping in 15 points.

New Lexington came out of the half looking to slowly trim away at the Athens lead, but the Bulldogs suffocated them all night long both offensively and defensively.

New Lexington just could not get through the Athens big men down low on the isolation, and the Bulldogs were able to force a lot of bad outside shots and turnovers. This led to a lot of fast break points, including the sophomore Watson getting fed for a huge two handed slam late in the game.

The Bulldogs were able to then rest the starters in the fourth quarter and let some of their younger players get minutes and experience as the team cruised to victory.

The three stars of the night for the Bulldogs had to be Zacchia Saltzman with 13 points, Joey Burrow finished with 15 and  Watson stole the show by putting away 24 points.

"My teamates just helped me out and set good screens, got open and just made it avaliable," said Watson after his big performance.

Athens is going to have to continue to ride the momentum of their dynamic trio that they seem to have. Burrow, Saltzman and Watson combined for 52 of the Bulldogs 76 points and if they continue to produce like this, this is going to be a very hard team to beat in the Tri-Valley Conference.

They're not going away anytime soon either, as there isn't a single senior in the starting lineup that features three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman.