Janessa Kiser goes up strong

Athens junior Janessa Kiser looks to go up for two of her 17 points in the Lady Hornets 59-45 victory over Farmersville at Mineola's Jacket Nest Gymnasium.

MINEOLA – The Athens Lady Hornets had a battle on their hands in the opening round of the Class 4A, Region 2 playoffs at the Jackets Nest Friday.

Athens defeated the Farmersville Lady Farmers, 59-45, for the 20th win of the 2020-21 season.

“It is just a good milestone,” Athens coach Jeff Teague said of win No. 20. “My dad always told me get to your 20th win and you know you have had a productive season. Now it is how far can we go in the playoffs.”

Athens is 20-8 overall with the win over Farmersville. The area round matchup is a meeting from the 2018-19 season when Gilmer defeated Athens 63-45 in the second round of the playoffs.

“We have talked about this for two straight years,” Teague said. “At some point, the game will be played. I told the girls during postgame that let’s keep this ride going whenever and wherever we are allowed to play, let’s keep this going. I am assuming they will have to and I don’t know if we might have to play a Friday-Saturday type doubleheader. God has blessed us another round and cursed us with the weather.”

No. 25-ranked Gilmer Lady Buckeyes (22-2) defeated the Kilgore Lady Bulldogs 69-18 in the bi-district contest on Thursday. The area round game is tentatively scheduled for Monday at Whitehouse, weather permitting.

“The reason I am a coach is because of my dad,” Teague said. “He coached his entire coaching career at Mineola and it means a lot. I was born here and grew up in bleachers somewhere here inside a gym in Mineola basketball. Winning here and with his biggest rival being Whitehouse so how ironic would it be if we could go and play the second round if we end up in Whitehouse like we planned.”

In the win over Farmersville, Athens trailed 8-3 after the first quarter, but led 24-21 at the half. The only basket of the first quarter came on a Karlie Cook three-pointer off an assist from Mimi McCollister.

The next basket came with a run starting by McCollister in which she scored seven points starting with a layup at the 6:26 mark of the second quarter. McCollister finished with a team-high 25 points.

The Lady Hornets held their first lead as the run continued with buckets by Janessa Kiser, Kyra Dawson and a free throw from Kiser for the 15-10 lead with 3:49 remaining.

With time running out on the first half clock, Athens had a three-pointer from McKenzie Hair off an assist from McCollister for the 24-21 lead.

Farmersville recorded only four field goals in the first 16 minutes of play as they went 13-of-16 from the charity stripe.

“I was telling the officials all night that their offense is from the 15-foot stripe,” Teague said. The officials were dictating the game and were allowing that to happen.”

He said the second half adjustments were simple in handling the three post players who are six feet or taller.

“We just knew that we were leaving the middle and the backside open,” Teague said. “All we did was tighten down on our press. The problem was we didn’t know how much foul trouble we were going to continue to get into. I didn't make a lot of halftime adjustments to be honest with you.”

In the second half, The Lady Hornets held a double-digit lead at 35-24 with 3:12 left in the third as McCollister found Kiser on a nice assist in the lane. Kiser finished with 17 points as the only other double figure scorer.

Farmersville attempted to make a run of its own as Reese Fetty converted an old-fashioned three-point play off an assist from teammate Morgan Erwin. She nailed the free throw for the 48-40 deficit with 2:55 remaining in regulation. Fetty finished with a team-high 22 points for the Lady Farmers.

The closest Farmersville would get would be 50-42 on a three-pointer by Alex Brooks with over two minutes remaining.

Athens would finish on a 9-3 run the remainder of the game for the final score.

ATHENS (59) – Kyra Dawson 4, Mimi McCollister 25, Janessa Kiser 17, McKenzie Hair 7, Karlie Cook 6.

FARMERSVILLE (45) – Paige Lair 2, Morgan Erwin 4, Kylie Self 6, Tijay Amix 1, Angie Lee 3, Reese Fetty 22, Alex Brooks 7.

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