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Athens Bulldogs New Lexington Panthers
New Lexington Panthers @ Athens Bulldogs Dec. 3 2019

Athens Leads Wire-to-Wire in Win Over Panthers

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NEW LEXINGTON, Ohio- Despite losing four seniors from a TVC-Ohio championship team a year ago, the Athens Bulldogs have not missed a beat to open up the season.

After knocking off a solid Gallia Academy team, the Bulldogs turned their focus to the New Lexington Panthers at McAfee Gymnasium Tuesday night.

Athens (2-0) were scrappy on defense all night and never trailed against New Lexington (1-1) as they went on to win 51-37.

The Bulldogs lockdown defense held New Lex to just 42% from the field and just 24% from behind the arc as a team.

Despite a slow first quarter for both sides, Brayden Whiting wasted no time getting started for Athens.

Whiting dropped seven of the teams’ 10 first quarter points including knocking down one of the three triples on the night, a shot that Whiting said he’s worked on a lot in practice.

Athens found some success down in the paint with Isaiah Butcher early in the second quarter. Butcher went for six of his nine total points in the quarter, and also tallied three rebounds.

Butcher, the 6-foot-4-inch senior big man, was cleaning glass throughout the game for Athens and totaled 10 boards on the night.

New Lex was smothered by the Bulldogs defense throughout the first half as they had several turnovers and found themselves trailing at halftime 25-19.

Brayden Markins got in on the action for the Bulldogs coming out of the halftime break. He converted on a floater from the middle of the paint and then knocked down a three from the top of the key to push the Athens lead out to double digits for the first time in the game.

The Panthers went on a bit of run throughout the third quarter and were able to hang around, causing a few turnovers and only trailing by six heading into the final quarter.

New Lex would never be able to complete the comeback, as the Athens defense continued to force contested shots and not allow second chance opportunities.

Athens would go on to coast to a double-digit victory.

Brayden Whiting led all scores in the game with 19 points and really showed the potential of being the number scoring option for the Bulldogs this season.

As a junior a year ago, Whiting was a role player off the bench for the Athens squad, but is excited about the much bigger role he’ll have on the team this season for his senior year.

“My role is different, it is a lot faster than last year,” Whiting said. “I feel like leading up to this season coach has done a good job preparing me for it.”

Despite all the turnover from a year ago the Bulldogs are looking like and solid team to this point with a 2-0 start.

Athens will look to continue their winning ways in this early season stretch as they battle conference foe Nelsonville-York next Tuesday.