Zacciah Saltzman Steps Up in Win Against Meigs

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Zacciah Saltzman knows how to be the unexpected hero; this time, he had to adjust without warning.

Saltzman came into his own in the closing minutes against Meigs, erasing an eight-point deficit and upsetting the Marauders 68-65.

Entering the 2015-2016 school year, Zacciah Saltzman had a lot to carry on his shoulders. Not on the basketball court – but on the football field.

After losing multiple, talented players to graduation, Saltzman entered the 2015 football season playing running back for the first time and turned a rebuilding year into one where his team won five of its last six games, and he scored more than 30 touchdowns.

Two of the Bulldogs starters, Griffin Lutz and Robert Dickleman, were injured within the last week. Saltzman understood he had to step up again.

“In football, I knew this role was coming for me,” Saltzman said. “In basketball, I really wanted to just go out there and do what I could do, knowing I had one of the best point guards in Ohio on my team. But when the injuries came, I knew it was my time to step up, and I always love that opportunity.”

For much of the game, Saltzman played like a running back, driving to the hoop and creating and-one opportunities.

Down 59-50 with four minutes left, Saltzman made a change to his game plan. Saltzman took note of what teammate Dalton Cozart did all game.

Saltzman and Cozart exploited the Marauders’ 2-3 zone from the outside, knocking down 3-pointers in the final minutes of the game to chip away at Meigs’ lead.

“I’m really loose, and I just kinda do whatever I want to do,” Saltzman said. “Coach [Jeff] Skinner has a lot of confidence in me, and I just try to make things happen.”

Cozart took advantage of a Kaileb Sheets turnover, making a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs up two with less than 30 seconds to go.

Sheets went 1 for 2 from the free throw line, then it was Saltzman’s turn. Saltzman was able to hit both, putting the Bulldogs up three.

After a 16-point loss to a middle-of-the-road Wellston team the night before, Saltzman found his footing in a game that keeps the Bulldogs alive in the race for the TVC-Ohio title.

At this point, Saltzman’s comfortable in these situations.

“Honestly, I don’t think about it,” Saltzman said. “I don’t really know how well I did out there. Everybody’s just doing their job and collectively we got a great win.”

Athens moves onto face River Valley on the road Feb. 2. The Marauders look to bounce back with a home game against Alexander on Feb. 1.