Athens Review, Athens, Texas

December 8, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Youth movement

Bench players help Athens to 68-62 win over NL

Jayson Larson
The Athens Review

WILLS POINT — Anthony Taylor scored 19 points and the Athens Hornets got significant contributions from their bench in a 68-62 win over the North Lamar Panthers Friday at the Wills Point Shootout.

The Hornets (6-5) were scheduled to take on Red Oak Life later Friday, and the result of that game was to help determine Athens’ place in the tournament when bracket play began Saturday.

Athens led North Lamar since early in the first quarter but still had to battle to be in the lead at the buzzer. North Lamar trailed by nine with about two minutes left, but found itself down just four twice in the final minute.

The Hornets, who struggled from the free throw line (13 of 24), hit just enough to keep the lead safely in hand.

“We’ve got a deep bench, and I’m having to let my young guys play,” Athens head coach Gerald Anthony said. “I just told the kids to go out and compete today, and these guys went out and hustled and battled.”

With starters Anthony Sanders and Chris Jefferson in foul trouble, Anthony called on his bench to contribute. Several of those players stepped up in a big way, with Courland Lyons scoring 13 points and Ryan Jefferson adding 12.

Chris Jefferson had three big offensive rebounds down the stretch that led to three points.

On Thursday, the Hornets split a pair of pool-play games, defeating Terrell, 58-48, and losing to the host Wills Point Tigers, 75-65, in a game where Athens was missing five players who were taking a test.

Sanders had 19 points to lead Athens against Terrell, while Taylor and Lyons added 10 points each. Sanders went for 34 in the loss to Wills Point, with Taylor finishing with 13.