By Jonathan Deal
Athens won its 21st consecutive game in convincing fashion Friday night in the first round of the 5A Area 16 Area Tournament. The Golden Eagles buried Russellville 81-37 to tie the school record for consecutive victories.
Athens had 11 players score a bucket, emptying the bench as early as the second quarter. AHS had six players score at least eight points, led by Kwasi Hanson, Jackson Pettus and Tarik Malone, who all scored at least 12.
Josh Maplesden, Terrance Watkins and Giddy Potts all pitched in eight in the blowout victory. Montel Shoulders had a game-high nine rebounds to go along with six points.
Athens started the game hot, shooting 62 percent from the floor in the opening quarter to take a 23-6 lead after one. Hanson and Malone each scored nine points in the first half as Athens found itself up 41-19 at the break.
AHS showed no let up after halftime and soon led by 43 points entering the fourth quarter. With the win, Athens advanced to play Muscle Shoals in the area championship game Monday at 7 p.m.
A win would give this Athens team the most consecutive victories in school history.
Other scores from Limestone County:
East Limestone 63
East Limestone outscored Hartselle 18-3 in the third quarter to cruise into the 5A Area 15 Championship game. Leading by 19 at halftime, the Indians used a big third quarter to take a 51-17 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Jordon Gandy flirted with a triple double, scoring 22 points, grabbing nine rebounds and getting seven steals. Syvaugn Turner chipped in 11 for East.
Brady Wallace was Hartselle’s leading scorer with 10.
East Limestone advanced to play Cullman Monday in the area championship game.