The Athens Review
Oh, the weather outside was frightful but the shot of Athens senior Anthony Sanders was so delightful.
Sanders scored a career high 47 points with five assists and seven steals for the Athens Hornets in their 78-67 win over the Van Vandals in Van Tuesday night.
“We were taking this game like an easy cupcake game,” Sanders said. “They came out ready and took a 40-27 lead on us so I had to just focus on my shot.”
Athens, ranked No. 10 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, wrapped up the regular season at 27-1 and 10-0 in District 15-3A play.
The Hornets will wait to see who they will face in the opening round of the playoffs as three teams are battling for the final spot in District 16-3A play.
Tuesday night’s contest was the only district game played due to the weather and the fans who came to watch were not disappointed.
Van (15-15, 4-6) held an 11-10 lead after the first quarter and then went on a 29-17 run in the second quarter for a 40-27 halftime advantage.
In the second half, the fans started to get into the game as AHS went on a 51-27 run which forced nine Van turnovers.
Sanders said the team did not seem ready to play from the opening whistle.
“I had to focus because at the beginning we were not focused,” Sanders said. “During warmups, we were laughing and playing around and they came out ready. I had to focus in on my shot and it worked for us.”
AHS held its first lead of the game early at, 10-8, when Sanders found Josh Garrett for the easy midrange jumper with 1:50 left in the first quarter.
Prior to Athens going on the run, the Vandals held a 56-51 lead heading into the final quarter.
Sanders drained a three-pointer and finished off a fast break layup to tie the game at 56 in the opening minute of the quarter.
It was the last lead they would see until the six minute mark of the fourth quarter when Ryan Jefferson — who finished with 14 points and six assists picked up the rebound and putback for a 58-56 lead.
Athens went into cruise control after that to bring home the district title — which they won last week in the victory over Canton.
The Vandals were led by Layton Myers with 16 points and Tanner Koru with 14 points.
No. 10 Athens 78, Van 67
Athens 10 17 24 27 — 78
Van 11 29 16 11 — 67
ATHENS — Ryan Jefferson, 14; Kynden Crist, 2; Anthony Sanders, 47; Courtland Lyons, 7; Josh Garrett, 6; Chris Jefferson, 2.
VAN — Austin Heddin, 3; Tanner Koru, 14; Layton Myers, 16; Xavier Sherman, 12; Carson Rucker, 8; Drew Boroughs, 2; Nick Wikerson, 10; Austin Prater, 2.
THREE POINT GOALS — A: Sanders (8). V: Heddin, Koru (2), Myers (3), Sherman (2), Wilkerson.
RECORDS — Athens 27-1 (10-0), Van 15-15 (4-6).
JV SCORE — Van 63, Athens 34.
FROSH SCORE — Van 52, Athens 34.