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BAKER'S SPORTS PEN: 'CARDIAC 'CATS' HIGHLIGHT WEEK OF HOOP ACTION (2021-01-25)

The “Cardiac Cats,” whoops, make that the Wildcats are setting a Friday-night precedent that Athens coach Jim Lister would probably like to avoid the rest of the season.

On back-to-back Fridays, the Wildcats have put together fourth-quarter comebacks to escape the jaws of defeat – first overcoming a 16-point deficit to Wellsboro and more recently against Wyalusing.

The Wildcats trailed by as many as 12 points in the third period and were down by 11 with just over four minutes to play against the Rams. However, J.J. Babcock stepped up, put the Wildcats on his shoulders, and basically said “follow me” the rest of the way.

His 11 fourth-quarter points, including what would be the game-winning free throws with 10 seconds to play, lifted Athens to its sixth win of the season.

The Wildcats, and everyone else in the Athens gymnasium, would watch a Wyalusing putback roll around the rim, not once, but twice before breathing a sigh of relief.

Good teams know how to win the nail-biters; Athens is a good team.

Speaking of good teams, Troy had a productive week despite losing on Saturday. The Trojans traveled to Williamsport and dropped a six-point decision. The hosts led just 30-29 at the half.

Earlier in the week, Troy netted wins over Northwest Area, Canton and Towanda. Ty Barrett had 35 points against the Millionaires and averaged 27 points for the week. Troy’s defensive intensity led to them permitting just 43 points a game in the three wins.

A few other observations:

•  Athens allowed Sayre only six third-quarter points in its win over the Redskins … James Benjamin-Jones  with a couple of good fourth-quarter defensive plays against Sayre … Troy Pritchard also with 10 points off the bench … Sayre’s 6-5 Connor Young with a 10-and-10 double-double against a big Athens front court.

•  Wyalusing’s Isiah Way netted an NTL third-best 29 points against NP-Mansfield … North Penn-Mansfield’s Kanon Dominick put together a 20-point evening against Wyalusing.

•  Northeast’s Nick Beers was unstoppable against Towanda with 19 points and 21 rebounds as the Panthers pocketed their initial win. … Beers averaging 13 points in the early going … The Panthers also took a big win over Williamson as Lucas Crown led four players in double digits.

•  Nate Parker scored 25 points in a losing effort for Towanda against Northeast … Parker, who is averaging 19 points a game, added 27 in a win against Cowanesque … Teammate Kolby Hoffman with a nice 13-point effort against the Trojans.

Speaking of some more good teams, the Athens and Towanda girls squads continued their winning habits.

•  Athens kept Mansfield off the scoreboard during the entire first quarter en route to a 52-25 win …  Caydence Macik with a trio 20-point performances as the Wildcats added victories over Williamson and Troy.

•  Towanda’s Paige Manchester filling up the scorebook with three double-digit outings in wins over Troy, Cowanesque and Montoursville as the Black Knights remain undefeated … Porschia Bennett providing a nice one-two combo with a team-high 13 against Troy.

•  Reagan Kelly took control for Canton with a career-best 21 points in the Warriors’ win over Williamson ... Molly Ward, the chairman of the boards, with 13.

•  Latiesha Peterson averaging 12 points per game for Williamson.

•  Maisie Neuber (18 PPG) and Lauryn Jones (12) forming a nice one-two combination for Northeast.

•  Livin’ on the edge: Wyalusing’s Catherine Brown was livin’ on the line as she visited the free-throw line 16 times against Liberty – cashing in on 11 of them during a 13-point evening.

•  Sydney Taylor with a solid week of play for Troy, averaging 11 points during games against some tough competition in Towanda, Canton and Athens.

A Baker’s Dozen
BOYS TOP SIX
1. Troy (5-1) … Trojans can’t be penalized for a six-point loss at Williamsport … They remained perfect against the NTL and host North Penn-Mansfield Monday.

2. Athens (6-2) … Wildcats continue to find ways to win, even when they are not at their best … that’s what good teams do.

3. North Penn-Liberty (4-0) … Defending Division II champs netting a 72-55 win over NP-Mansfield. Noah Spencer setting the pace with 25 points.

4. Wyalusing (3-1) … Rams led a very good Athens team on the road until the final 10 seconds and almost stole a win at the buzzer. Aaron Morningstar showing some solid play in the paint.

5. Northeast (2-4) … Panthers getting a lift from Dan Williams, back in the lineup, with 11 points in a win over Williamson.

6. Sayre (2-4) … Dom Fabbri averaging 17 points in a 1-2 week for the Redskins.

GIRLS TOP SIX
1. Towanda (6-0)
… Black Knights with a perfect 3-0 week while avenging a loss to last year’s Division II champion Northeast Bradford … Erin Barrett giving the Knights an offensive spark with 18 points against Cowanesque.

2. Athens (6-1) … Wildcats go 19-of-21 from the free-throw line and shoot 57 percent from the floor in a win over Williamson.

3. Northeast Bradford (5-2) … Kate O’Connor totaling 10 rebounds in a win over NP-Mansfield.

4. Wyalusing (3-2) … After scoring just 21 points in a victory over Wellsboro, the Rams, later in the week, doubled that production to take a second win against the Green Hornets.

5. Troy (2-4) … Sydney Taylor with a rare double-double against Canton, totaling 14 points and 11 steals.

6. Canton (3-2) … Sophomore Emmie Tymeson with a nice eight-point outing in the Warriors’ win over Williamson.

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