Athens has Crucial Buckets to Drain Meigs

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Junior Dalton Cozart scored six crucial points in the final minutes to lead the Athens Bulldogs past the Meigs Marauders 75-63, Tuesday night.

With Athens leading 59-57 late in the 4th quarter Cozart, as he had done all game long, hit a huge three-pointer right in front of the Meigs faithful to put the Bulldogs up 5. After a Robert Dickelman steal and breakaway layup, the Bulldogs were one big basket from putting the game away. Enter Cozart. The guard received the ball in the same spot he had hit the aforementioned bucket, gave his defender a pump fake, drove the baseline and made a smooth left-handed layup through contact. Not only did the layup fall, but Cozart drew the foul and sank the free-throw; as well as Meigs’ hopes for a win.

A win seemed eminent from the tip as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-4 lead and appeared to be in complete control. The Marauders, behind the play of Jared Kennedy (12 points, 9 rebounds), would come back and finish the quarter down two, 13-15. Aside from Griffin Lutz scoring 8 of his teams points in the quarter, the more impressive stat comes on the defensive side of the ball. Athens forced 8 first quarter turnovers and managed to hold Meigs’ two best offense players in Christian Mattox and Luke Musser both to zero points.

As all good scorers do, Mattox (13 points) and Musser (19 points) would find their stroke and keep Meigs in what would be a back-and-forth contest. Musser would make three straight three-pointers to tie the game at 39 with five minutes left in the third and energize a crowd desperately looking for something to root for. That moment would come later in the quarter as Lutz, who finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals, would pick up his fourth foul.

This would be a non-issue for the Bulldogs as Cozart (14 points) and the rest of the Athens squad, carried the load and kept the momentum in the Bulldogs favor. Lutz would stay out of foul trouble for the rest of the game and was able to celebrate with his teammates on the floor when the final buzzer sounded. Its no question this Athens team is his, but tonight would have been completely different without Cozart and company.

Athens will look to make it two in a row as they welcome Wellston to their place Friday night. Meigs will have to regroup in a hurry as Vinton County comes into town on the same night.