By Jonathan Deal
EAST LIMESTONE —
In front of a packed house at East Limestone, Athens pulled away from its rivals in the final two quarters for a 65-50 road victory. It was Athens’ second win over East Limestone in a week after beating the Indians in the Columbia Thanksgiving Tournament.
Nathaniel “Giddy” Potts dominated the paint for Athens, grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds and scoring 21 points to lead his team in the victory.
“We didn’t turn the ball over,” Potts said. “That was the difference in the second half. We played together as a team and hit our free-throws.”
Potts did his part from the charity stripe. The junior made 13 of 14 free-throws, all in the fourth-quarter as Athens maintained a comfortable lead in the final quarter. Potts saw limited action in the first half, after picking up two early fouls.
With the Athens students chanting “Giddy Potts”, the forward scored 18 points and grabbed 13 points in the second half that proved to be the difference in the game.
“We played with a lot more confidence tonight,” said Athens head coach Stace Tedford. “We had a lot more guys step up and make plays for us. We came out in the second half and hit some shots.”
East Limestone led 24-21 at halftime, before being outscored 21-7 in the third quarter. Trey Potts layup as the third quarter buzzer-sounded gave Athens its biggest lead of the night at 42-31. Trey Potts finished with 13 points.
The visitors maintained that double-digit lead throughout the fourth-quarter thanks to some clutch free-throw shooting and the ability to limit turnovers. Junior guard Johnnie Anderson had five assists and five steals to go along with his seven points.
“East is a very good team,” Tedford said. “And Jordan Gandy is one of the best players in the state. He deserves a lot of credit.”
Gandy scored 19 points in a losing effort for East Limestone.
East Limestone 56
Brennan Crabtree and Rachel Diamond combined for 39 points as East Limestone held on for a 56-53 victory over rival Athens Tuesday. The home team fought off a third quarter Athens rally to improve to 8-1 on the season.
Trailing 30-17 at halftime, Athens began the third quarter on a 9-0 run to pull within single digits. The visitors continued to rally into the fourth quarter and took their first lead of the game when Alliyah Smith hit a jump shot over two defenders to put Athens ahead 42-41 with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Diamond hit four consecutive free-throws and Bailey Speer hit a three-pointer as East regained a nine point advantage with less than two minutes in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Eagles made one last run to pull within two points at 55-53 with 14 seconds remaining and had a chance tie the game as the buzzer sounded.
Diamond scored a game-high 21 points and Crabtree added 18 points for East. Smith and Destiny Bailey each scored 13 points for Athens.