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BAKER'S SPORTS PEN: LADY WILDCATS ADD TO EXCITEMENT IN ATHENS ... AND MORE ON NTL BASKETBALL (2021-02-01)

Nothing comes easy in Athens, but the games sure are exciting.

The boys’ basketball squad has become known for its fourth-quarter comebacks. In borrowing a page from the playbook of exciting hoops, the Athens girls decided to give their fans some “bonus basketball” for the second time this season. And if one overtime period wasn’t enough, why not make it a double against the Sullivan County Griffins.

Earlier this year, the Wildcats won an overtime thriller against Northeast; this time it was with Sullivan County in a two-point victory. Two very good opponents; two very good wins for coach Brian Miller and company.

The Wildcats used a little “home cookin’” to pick up three victories for the week as they get ready for the big match-up with undefeated Towanda at the Black Knights’ castle on the hill. The one-two punch of Caydence Macik and Kayleigh Miller continue to lead the Wildcats on the offense.

Miller, in the Wildcats’ win over Cowanesque Valley, topped the 1,000 career-point plateau.

Macik is netting 18.6 points a game; has a season-high of 34 against the Griffins, and has gone over 20 points in four others. She leads the NTL in scoring. Miller averages 16.2 points a game - fourth best in the league - and has eclipsed 20 points on four occasions.

Megan Collins nets about six points a game, but otherwise, some one else may need to step up against the Knights on Tuesday.

Towanda will counter with its one-two punch of Paige Manchester and Porschia Bennett. Manchester is in the midst of a campaign any politician would be proud of – averaging 17.5 points an outing and has secured double-digits in all eight of Towanda’s games. She is second in the NTL. Bennett puts about 12 markers a game in the scorebook.

Offensively, coach Rob Gentile has seen some nice contributions from Erin Barrett (8 PPG) and Amanda Horton (6 PPG) as the Knights hit the nets for about 56 points an outing; about 10 points better than the Wildcats. Defensively, it’s about half of that.

Yep, Athens and Towanda are scheduled for Round 1 on Tuesday. I wish I could be in the front row for that game. Under normal conditions one would have to arrive the day before to get that kind of seat, but hey, I’ll even take the Uecker seats!

Northeast’s Maisie Neuber has eight consecutive double-digit games to start the season. Kayleigh Thoman returned to the Panther line-up with 10 points against Wellsboro, and is averaging eight points a game. She was guilty of five steals in a Northeast win over Troy.

Wyalusing’s Callie Bennett ripped the nets for 27 points in the Rams’ 68-40 win over Williamson to boost her average of 12 points a game.

Manchester and Bennett combined for 35 points in Towanda’s non-league win over Millville.

Emma Coolidge stepped up with 18 points in Wellsboro’s win over Canton.

Cowanesque Valley’s Abby Abbott is putting together a nice season, averaging 12 points per game in the early-going.

The Towanda baskets were as big as the ocean this past Wednesday, at least for the visiting Redskins, who shot 68 percent from the floor in the first half of its win over the Black Knights.

It was Dom Fabbri, en route a three-quarter, 23-point evening, playing the role of “Mr. Outside,” with five three-pointers. Lucas Horton (16 points) providing plenty of fast-break lay-ups to add to the very high shooting percentage. Sayre finished at just under 60 percent for the game.

Connor Young had another nice game on the boards for the Redskins, but with the way they were shooting, he was limited to mostly defensive caroms; otherwise he reaches double-figures easily. Sayre also committed just seven turnovers on the night.

The Athens Wildcats must have been using the same two sets of nets as they shot 62 percent from the floor in their win over Williamson.

Troy defeated NP-Mansfield 65-46 with Ty Barrett scoring 22 points – his lowest total of the week. Zeb Oldroyd scored 11 points off the bench as Troy battled foul trouble throughout the contest. In just another week at the office, Barrett later added 30 points against Sayre, 25 against Northeast, and closed out with week with 30 points against Wyalusing – all Troy victories.

Dan Seeley is quietly having a nice season for Northeast. His 14 points against Millville (10 rebounds) gives him five games in double figures, and he is one of the Panthers’ top rebounders nightly.

Wellsboro picked up a nice road win over Wyalusing as Liam Manning’s 15 points led three Green Hornet players in double-figures.

Karson Dominick scored 23 points against Sayre— his third 20-point outing. He is averaging 17.8 a game for North Penn-Mansfield.

McGuire Painter (10 PPG) and Ben Cooper (9 PPG) are putting up some nice numbers for Cowanesque Valley.

A Baker’s Dozen
Boys Top Six
1. Troy (9-1)
… On any given night somebody else can step up for Trojans to provide another punch for their offense. Monday it was Oldroyd against NP-Mansfield; then Nick Williams (12 points) against Sayre, and later Mason Imbt (12 points) against Northeast.

2. Athens (7-3) … Wildcats dropped a tough road game at Dallas where nothing went right; just the opposite of their dominating win over Cowanesque Valley.

3. North Penn-Liberty (6-0) … It’s tough getting info on this Western standout …at last report there were undefeated.

4. Wellsboro (5-1) … Darryn Callahan (14 PPG) also averaging double-digits for the Green Hornets, including 20 against Cowanesque.

5. Wyalusing (3-2) … Rams nearly complete the comeback win on the road in Wellsboro. They also played tough for three quarters before dropping a 12-point decision to Troy at the Commons Building.

6. Sayre (3-4) … Redskins having one of those nights in a near-perfect outing against Towanda. They later dropped a five-point game at home to NP-Mansfield.

Girls Top Six
1. Towanda (8-0)
… Remained undefeated as the Knights get ready for their biggest game of the season against Athens … Defense allowing just 29 points a game.

2. Athens (9-1) … Wildcats average 53 points per game. Went 3-0 for the week to set up “The Showdown.”

3. Northeast Bradford (6-3) … Developing into very nice squad. Only blemishes are an overtime road loss to Athens in the team’s season-opener and to a pair of undefeated squads in Towanda and Bloomsburg.

4. Wyalusing (5-2) … Rams averaged 59 points in two victories last week.

5. Troy (2-5) …  Sydney Taylor averaging nine points a game for the Trojans.

6. Canton (3-4) … Young Warriors looking to rebound offensively after three straight games of under 20 points.

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