Athens Survives Scare Against Sheridan

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Griffin Lutz cut threw the entire Sheridan defense to lay the ball in off the glass with four seconds left to send the Bulldogs to the Convocation Center with a 58-57 win over the Sheridan Generals.

Right from the tip, Athens pushed the ball down the court and relied on its speed to wear down the Generals. The Bulldogs were outmatched with the size Sheridan’s big men.

Dylan Dupler, Grant Heileman and Stan Knox are all listed at six foot, five inches. Athens biggest player, Robert Dickelman is listed at six foot, four inches.

The Bulldogs turned to their three-point shooters to score the majority of Athens’ points. The Bulldogs shot six of 13 from behind the three-point line in the first half.

Micah Saltzman was 2-4 and Dalton Cozart was 2-5 to lead the Bulldogs in the first half.

Sheridan started the second quarter working the ball around the top of the key and utilizing their size to their advantage. Grant Heileman led Sheridan with 12 points, most of them coming in the paint.

The Generals went on an 8-3 run to start the second quarter before Coach Mickey Cozart called a timeout to stop Sheridan’s momentum and regain Athens’ composure.

Whatever Cozart said in the huddle worked as Athens scored seven straight points to regain the lead and head to the locker room with a 26-25 lead.

Athens continued their hot hands in the third quarter.

Cozart had 11 points in the quarter with three three-pointers and one floater. The Bulldogs increased their lead to five points after outscoring Sheridan 19-15 in the quarter.

Lutz contributed 13 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals.

The fourth quarter was nothing short of a barnburner. After countless lead changes, clutch shots, the score was tied at 53 with two minutes left. Cozart got to the line after being fouled and knocked down both free-throws.

After Sheridan tied it up, Cozart went back to the line and made one of two free throws to regain the lead 56-55.

Cozart led all scorers with 21 points, five of nine from three-point.

Ethan Heller knocked down a layup with 10 seconds left to give Sheridan one-point lead.

Lutz took the inbounds pass and went coast-to-coast to lay it in with four seconds left.

Sheridan had a chance with a half-court shot, but missed and Athens prevailed in a nail bitter.

Coach Cozart had no doubt in his star point guard to hit the game winner for his Bulldogs. “When you have the best point guard in southeast Ohio, you’re not calling a timeout. You’re not even considering it.”

Athens gets six days to rest up and enjoy the victory before hitting the hardwood against the winner of Miami Trace and Washington Courthouse.

Tip off for Athens vs. Miami Trace/Washington Courthouse is at 6:15 in the Convocation Center.