Jackson Steals Perfection From Athens

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Almost perfect.

That is the one of the many ways to describe the Athens Lady Bulldogs 2013-14 campaign after the Jackson Ironladies out-battled them for a 59-51 victory in Athens’ final game of the regular season.

Jackson, with the knowledge that they could upset an undefeated Athens season, rushed out of the gates and put together a 12-0 run to begin the game. Head coach Matt Walburn said that the girls came into the contest with their own focus and intensity.

“Some of these girls are graduating and some of them aren’t,” Walburn said. “I walked into the locker room before the game, and they said ‘Coach, we’re ready,’ and that’s really encouraging to hear.”

The Ironladies worked an inside-out game with center Lydia Poe that opened up both easy layups for cutting Jackson guards and uncontested 3-point shots. Poe finished the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Madison Ridout was the real scoring threat for Jackson, though, contributing 22 points and 7 rebounds in the victory.

Not going away quietly, Athens took the lead on the will of guard Dominique Doseck, who had 17 points in the first half alone and finished the game with 30.

The Lady Bulldogs led by as many as five points in the second quarter, but Jackson steals and lazy passes by Athens quickly translated into a 30-26 Jackson lead at halftime.

The Ironladies opened the second half with the same mentality, and shots were not coming easily for Athens in the third quarter. However, the physicality of Jackson turned into fouls, but the Lady Bulldogs were unable to convert at the line.

Athens was still within reach with two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, but a lack of urgency and awareness to foul allowed the Ironladies to dribble the clock out and ruin perfection.

Athens still may have a shot at redemption against the Ironladies, as they could possibly meet in the district title game for the second straight year.

Athens will now look to recover in time to make a run in the OHSAA tournament. The top-seeded Lady Bulldogs start their quest to Columbus on Wednesday when they take on No. 8 New Lexington at Logan High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.