Young Team, Turnovers Lead to Lady Bulldogs Loss

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Paul McNeal knew it wouldn’t be easy and tonight proved that.

With Wayne Horsley, Dominique Doseck and Olivia Harris looking on, McNeal and the Athens Bulldogs (0-1) lost to the Warren Warriors (2-0) in his first game in charge, 56-20.

“There wasn’t anything we didn’t expect coming into the game,” McNeal said. “We are more worried about the process rather than the outcome. We know what the outcomes are going to be so we are going to build ourselves daily and be better today than we were yesterday.”

Over the past four seasons, the Lady Bulldogs have won as many TVC-Ohio titles, picking up 82 wins along the way.

After losing key players to graduation, the Lady Bulldogs’ domination is now gone, leaving the team in a rebuilding season.

Tuesday night in the Plains showed that with a young Athens squad forcing the ball, making mistakes and turning the ball over.

The Bulldogs finished the night with 35 turnovers.

“We are just trying to stay positive,” McNeal said. “When that freshman turns the ball over now, three years from now, she won’t turn the ball over.”

Most of those turnovers came from long passes resulting in uncontrollable ball handling or a Warriors’ pick. Multiple times Athens had trouble passing the ball, making it hard for the Lady Bulldogs to settle into a groove on offense.

The Lady Bulldogs looked their best with the ball in the hands of senior playmakers Alexis McCollum and Taylor Gregory.

McCollum scored all of the Lady Bulldogs’ seven points in the first quarter. However her constant motor was the bright spot for Athens.

“We are going to relay heavily on all of our seniors,” McNeal said. “Alexis has seen the most playing time as a four-year letterman, but in those four years, she’s never had to be a scorer. Now, she has to be a scorer.”

Molly McCutcheon led the Lady Warriors, scoring a game-high 15 points and six rebounds. Kate Ryan also contributed for Warren. She finished the night with 12 points and two rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs return to the court next Monday Nov. 30. They seek McNeal’s first win when they travel to Morgan.