Athens Review, Athens, Texas

January 2, 2014

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Hot start

AHS wins Wagstaff tourney, now 15-1 on the year

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

Athens — The No. 23-ranked Athens Hornets have proven being road warriors can be successful this season.

In 16 games, the Hornets have only been in the friendly confines of AHS gymnasium three times.

Just this past weekend, the Hornets picked up an 82-72 championship victory against Whitehouse in the gold bracket of the Wagstaff Holiday Classic at Tyler Junior College.

Coach Gerald Anthony — in his second year at the helm of the Hornets — guided last year’s team to a 19-16 record last year.

The Hornets lost to Kilgore in bi-district play, 67-51, at UT-Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.

With a 15-1 record this year, Anthony said the winning attitude from football has carried over to the basketball season.

“One thing is Coach (Paul) Essary and I talked and we knew with 10 football players coming over to my team that the winning attitude would continue,” Anthony said. “The second thing is they know me now. This is my second year and they are used to my mannerisms and that makes a big difference. They played a lot of basketball this summer.”

With double digit scorers in Anthony Sanders, Courtland Lyons and Ryan Jefferson leading the way, Anthony said they can find the mismatch in opposing defenses.

“Those three have grown leaps and bounds this year,” Anthony said. “They can all read each other and I ran a three-guard attack like this at John Tyler. They are all combo guards which makes it hard to defend.”

Anthony also gave credit to post players Chris Jefferson and Josh Garrett.

“One key to our defense is Chris Jefferson and he is out in force this season,” Anthony said. “He is playing hard and never complains during games. Josh Garrett is a kid that does the little things that don’t show up in the box score. He runs the floor well and helps in any way that he can with the team.”

AHS will host its final non-district game Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in a varsity only contest when they host the Mexia Blackcats.