The Athens Review
The Athens Hornets were eliminated from the Class 3A, Region 2 bi-district playoffs Tuesday night following a 67-51 loss to the Kilgore Bulldogs at UT-Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.
The loss gave first-year head coach Gerald Anthony’s Hornets’ a 19-16 record on the season.
With the loss, the Hornets’ broke a two-year streak of making it to the regional tournament after a 26-13 season last year.
AHS found themselves in a hole early in the game as Kilgore jumped out to a 9-0 lead with 4:47 remaining in the opening quarter.
Ryan Jefferson led the Hornets on a 15-0 run with a three-pointer and then a steal and fast break layup.
Junior Anthony Sanders then capped off the scoring run with a three pointer, as assist to Ryan Jefferson for a layup, a jumper of his own, and then a three-pointer with time winding down in the quarter.
Kilgore was able to put together a run in the second quarter to take the lead back from the Hornets at 20-19 with four minutes remaining.
After a basket by freshman Trayvon Fuller to give AHS a 21-20 lead, the Bulldogs’ defense held Athens scoreless for the remaining 3:50 to take a 26-21 lead into the locker-room.
In the second half, Athens could not find the momentum they needed coming out of the locker room as the only lead they held was a rebound basket by Courtland Lyons with 6:45 remaining in the third.
Kilgore put the pressure on the Hornets’ once again as they put together a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to take a 36-28 lead with 2:40 remaining.
Sanders nailed another three-pointer to end the run with 2:28 remaining in the quarter and cut the lead to 36-31.
The Bulldogs’ defense held Athens scoreless for another 2:12 to wrap the third quarter by controlling the turnover battle and forcing AHS into single shots to take a 49-33 lead into the final frame.
The Hornets continued to battle in the final eight minutes of play but Kilgore kept finding ways to build their lead above 10 points.
KHS (14-15) put the icing on the cake with 6:47 left as Kevrin Justice had a fast-break layup and free throw to give them a 52-41 lead with 6:47 remaining in the contest.
Athens had only one player in double figures as Sanders scored 23 points in the loss. He hit five three-pointers in the contest.
Jefferson added nine points, while Javonte Johnson had six points.
Kilgore was led in scoring by Nick Orange with 17 points.