Early Run Puts Warren Over Athens

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A beat up Athens team had its season come to a close Tuesday night after falling to red hot Warren 66-33.

The Warriors had control of the game from the opening tip. They ended the first quarter with 27 points on 85 percent shooting and never looked back, holding a comfortable lead the entire game.

Athens limped into the contest with several key players unable to play at full go. Logan Maxfield separated his shoulder in Friday’s game against Alexander, and Zacciah Saltzman sprained his ankle in the regular season finale against NY. Saltzman also suffered from pneumonia throughout the past week, and Robert Dickleman played the game with strep throat.

“We just ran out of energy,” coach Jeff Skinner said. “It’s been a rough week. We were big time under the weather and they came out and took it to us tonight.”

After the first quarter, Warren’s offensive production slowed down a bit, but the Bulldogs were never able to recover from the early deficit. Athens shot poorly at 27 percent, and with 18 turnovers, it never got consistently good possessions to build momentum on.

Turnovers, however, weren’t the Bulldogs main concern. Warren was in the double bonus less than six minutes into the third quarter, and Athens sent the Warriors to the charity stripe 15 times in the second half. When the Bulldogs weren’t fouling, they were unable to stop the sound ball movement of the Warriors. They finished with 12 team assists on the night.

Warren’s Luke Drayer led all scorers with 17 points and went 75 percent from the field. He also nabbed four boards and two steals. Bryce Gandee chipped in nine points, going 3 for 4 from behind the arc.

Dalton Cozart led Athens with 10 points, and Justin Hynes finished with seven for the Bulldogs. Hynes also pitched in an assist and four rebounds.

Despite the rough end to the season, Skinner was proud of the way his guys battled adversity not only this game, but throughout the season as well.

“I couldn’t be more happy with this team,” Skinner said. “I couldn’t be happier with the job our seniors have done. With all the obstacles we’ve had to overcome, they’ve been terrific leaders and high character kids.”

With the win, Warren will face Vinton County in the district quarterfinals on Friday at 7 p.m. at Logan High School.