Hardwood Heroes

Our Zach Knight recaps the "Play For Ashton" Game, where the Athens Bulldogs faced off against the Marietta Tigers in a game to raise money for cancer research.

Athens Boys fall just short to the Marietta Tigers, while both communities come together for more

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Marietta, Ohio (WOUB) – After losing at Logan Elm Saturday, the Athens Bulldogs traveled to Marietta to face off against the Tigers, but would end up falling 66-40. But for both teams, both communities, this game was much more than just a varsity basketball game.  

Ashton Harris is a student at Marietta high school who played on his school’s basketball and baseball teams. Before Harris transferred to Marietta, he went to Athens high school and played on the Athens basketball team just the year before. Then on November 22, 2022, Harris would be diagnosed with AMI or acute myelocytic leukemia, just before the 2022 regular season got started.    

Before the game started, fundraisers and raffles were set up to help out Harris’ family in whatever ways both communities could help.    

Heading into the first quarter, both teams were neck and neck as the bulldogs got early contributions from the scoring of Nathan Shadik and Landon Wheatley. By the end of the first, the opposing teams would be tied 11-11.   

Once the second quarter got underway, Marietta would blow this game wide open, with a 6-0 run of their own, making themselves known as the superior team, exposing Athens flaws.   

The repeated flaw for the bulldogs this year has been their rebounding on both ends of the floor. According to Athens head coach Mickey Cozart, this is a problem his team will need to fix in order to win their upcoming games. “On nights that we don’t rebound, we’re in trouble and we got in trouble early in the third quarter.”  

By the end of the first half, the bulldogs would find themselves down 20-29.  

The second half would prove to be much of the same for both teams as Marietta would continue to add on to their lead, while Athens tried to wiggle back into the ballgame.   

For Athens, Nathan Shadick would end up with 15 points and 4 assists, while Landon Wheatley would add 11 points and 2 rebounds of his own.   

The Bulldogs next matchup will be against the River Valley Raiders and the opportunity to add another win to their conference record.