Athens girls top NEB in NTL Showdown
MANSFIELD - The Athens Wildcats outlasted the Northeast Bradford Panthers to claim the N.T.L. Championship Saturday night, winning by a score of 35-30.
Northeast Bradford had a chance to tie the game with a three point shot at the end of the fourth quarter, but Angelica Laudermilch's attempt rimmed out with 4.5 seconds to play, giving Athens the NTL Championship.
"It was a goal we had at the beginning of the year," head coach Kelly Burkhart said. "There hasn't been an overall NTL champion since 2001 and Athens wanted to bring it back (home)."
The Panthers took an 8-5 lead after one quarter thanks to Alyssa Coon's six points and three rebounds in the first frame. Coon finished the game with nine points and five rebounds.
Athens got hot at the end of the second quarter, starting with Morgan Westbrook recording a block and following it up with a breakaway layup. The layup gave Athens a 13-11 advantage and set up a 5-0 run over the final 2:08 seconds of the period. The Wildcats took a 15-11 advantage into the half.
The two teams traded buckets throughout the third quarter and headed into the final frame with Athens holding a 24-21 advantage.
Danielle Dougherty extended that lead to six with a three pointer to start the fourth quarter. Dougherty finished with three points, six rebounds and four assists.
Northeast answered with a three of their own when Angelica Laudermilch hit a three 17 seconds later to cut the lead back to three. Laudermilch finished the contest with ten points and four rebounds.
Athens again extended their lead to six points when Mackenzie Warner hit a three on their next trip down the court. Warner finished the game with eight points.
Northeast Bradford cut the deficit to two points on their next two possessions with Coon and Laudermilch both connecting on jumpers.
After Athens pushed the lead back to four, Calla Johnson hit a layup to again cut the deficit to two with 38 seconds to play. The Panthers fouled Mackenzie Hafer, who hit one of two from the free throw line.
After Laudermilch's ensuing three point shot was off target, a pair of Rachael Donnelly free throws sealed the final score. Donnelly finished with four points and three rebounds.
For the Panthers, Calla Johnson finished with five points and two rebounds and Maddy Johnson chipped in with two points, three boards and three assists, while Lydia Werner tallied four points, four boards and four assists.
For the Wildcats, Morgan Westbrook scored seven points, grabbed eight rebounds, and recorded two blocks and a steal. Hafer finished with four points and six rebounds, and Jensen Dunkling totaled three points and two rebounds.
"Offensively at the end we were able to take care of the ball and hit free throws when we needed to," Burkhart said.