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STAC GIRLS BASKETBALL: WILLIAMSON BESTS ATHENS, 35-26, IN DEFENSIVE BATTLE (14 PHOTOS) (2024-02-09)

Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — Athens played Williamson close for more than 3 1/2 quarters, but the Warriors closed the game with five straight points for a 35-26 win here Friday night in NTL girls basketball action.

“The first time we played (Williamson), we lost by 30, and only scored 16 points,” said Athens coach Brian Miller. ‘Tonight, we were down four with two minutes to go.

“We had a chance to beat a very good basketball team,” noted Miller. “And, we missed some easy baskets in transition in the second half and could have a had a lead.

“The last two minutes we changed defenses, and some miscommunications led to some easy baskets under one minute to go,” he added.

After a slow first quarter that ended in a 6-6 deadlock, Olivia Meisner and Kenna Thomas combined for nine points to lead Williamson in an 11-5 run that gave the Warriors a 17-11 lead at the half.

Junior Sara Bronson scored six points in the third quarter, and junior Addy Wheeler added four points as Athens closed the gap with a 10-7 spurt, and trailed 24-21 heading into the final eight minutes.

Wheeler scored all five of Athens’ points in the fourth quarter, and keep the Wildcats within four, at 30-26, with two minutes remaining, but that was as close as they would get.

Wheeler led Athens with 13 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and three blocked shots, while Bronson added six points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals, sophomore Abby Burgess chipped in with four points, three rebounds, and two steals, and freshman McKenna Jarvis had three rebounds, and one blocked shot.

Meisner led Williamson with 15 points, while Thomas scored 10, and leading scorer Taylor Rae Jones was held to two points.

Athens, now 7-12, hosts Elmira Notre Dame Monday.

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IN PHOTO 1: Athens senior Kendra Merrill. … PHOTOS BY MATT PATTON.

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