Athens (OnFocus) – A tight game throughout the first half saw Marawood rivals Abbotsford and Athens battle back and forth before the Falcons took the lead with just under seven minutes remaining. Abbotsford’s lead grew early in the second half only to see Athens claw their way back to gain a lead they would never relinquish with ten minutes to go and the Blue Jays edged Abbotsford 64-62.
The Falcons took their largest lead of the first half at 32-23 when Catie Clement’s bucket ended a gritty Abbotsford possession that saw the Falcons fight and claw for multiple attempts at the basket.
Athens held Abbotsford scoreless the rest of the half and entered halftime with a small dose of momentum.
The Falcons came out firing after the break, however, and momentum was all on their side. Capitalizing on a Blue Jay turnover on their first possession, Clement drained a three and Abbotsford was ready to roll. A 9-1 run pushed the Falcons’ lead to 41-28 and Athens was on the ropes.
After a Sydney Falteisek basket and free throw from Briseida Escalera, the Falcons led 44-31 with 15 minutes remaining, and the visitors were flying high.
Senior Night for Athens, however, seemed to generate some energy from within, and the next five minutes of play saw Athens come to life.
A 19-3 run by the Blue Jays, begun by senior Kaitlyn Riehle’s free throw, was capped by another Riehle free throw and free throws from Addison Lavicka.
The Blue Jays’ 50-47 lead disappeared within a minute, however, as Abbotsford senior Clement drained a three.
Even though it was senior night, it was a time to shine for both teams’ freshmen. Athens’ freshman Jazella Hartwig’s basket gave Athens a 55-52 lead, followed by Abbotsford freshman Sydney Falteisek’s free throws to make it 55-54.
A Lavicka bucket took the Athens’ lead to three only to see Abby senior Mya Ruesch dribble through the Athens defense for a lay in to make it 57-56.
Athens’ attempts to pull away down the stretch were met with Abbotsford’s efforts to fight back. The Falcons nearly did, and when Bridgett Pogodzinski drained a three with 3.7 second left, Athens led 63-62.
A single Athens free throw ended the scoring, and Athens escaped with the come from behind win.
Sophia Coker led Athens with 20 points.
Ruesch and Falteisek each had 15 points for the Falcons.
Falteisek (9 of 9) and Pogodzinski (4 of 4) turned in perfect showings from the free throw line.
Abbotsford (62) Pogodzinski 7, Diaz 2, Ruesch 15, Clement 11, Fuentes 1, Escalera 4, Falteisek 15, Brodhagen 7
Athens (64) Lavicka 7, Riehle 10, Hartwig 12, So. Coker 20, Van Rixel 9, Schug 6
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