Athens Lady Bulldogs: Dec. 6-12

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In her four years at Athens High School, senior forward Claire Debruin has been a part of a lot of success. Debruin’s first three seasons ended with Tri-Valley championships.

But it took some time to start the success her and her fellow teammates grew used to. The Lady Bulldogs first win of the season came against the Wellston Lady Golden Rockets on Dec. 10.

Debruin acted as a driving force behind that 41-32 win, notching her first career double-double according to coach Paul McNeal. Debruin followed up her career day on Thursday with another double-double on Dec. 12  in a 59-39 loss to the Minford Lady Falcons.

“She has experienced team success and it’s nice for her to finally experience some individual success,” said McNeal.

The Lady Bulldogs began the season with four straight losses of 20 or more points. McNeal’s diagnosis: “We like to throw the ball in the ocean.” In the team’s win against Wellston, Athens minimized the turnovers for most of the game.

“It was 22-12 at halftime and they came out and we had an awful quarter,” McNeal explained. “We started throwing it in the ocean again but we fired back up in the fourth.”

Athens was able to recover from a rough quarter against Wellston, however Athens’ success in recovering faired differently against Minford. The Lady Bulldogs scored only three points in the second quarter, making the 59-39 final look much better in the eyes of McNeal.

Seniors Taylor Gregory and Alexis McCollum added a combined 19 points to help Debruin, who was named team MVP of the game.

Overall, McNeal says he is pleased with the team’s improvement. Instead of an entire game filled with turnovers, the Lady Bulldogs have been able to limit these long stretches of giveaways.

“We have 13 girls really striving to be the best that we can be,” McNeal said.

In a rebuilding season, that is all that the first-year coach can ask for.

Athens plays twice next week against two opposite teams. The Lady Bulldogs host the River Valley Lady Raiders (5-1) on Dec. 14. They then travel to face the  Meigs Lady Marauders (1-5) on Dec. 17.