By Jonathan Deal
It was no secret who was likely to get the ball for Athens with 22 seconds left and the game tied Tuesday night against Austin. Nathaniel “Giddy” Potts caused problems for the Black Bears all night and once again looked as though he would take the last shot.
But it was a different Potts deciding the outcome.
Giddy’s younger brother, Trey, received a perfect dish pass from Giddy as every Austin defender gravitated his way. And Trey did the rest to secure the 60-58 hard-fought win.
“We played that way the whole game, every time there was a man open, dish it off,” said Giddy Potts. “I seen my brother’s man scooting over and I just dished it over to him. I’m glad he finished the layup.”
The Potts brothers combined for 35 points and dominated the boards in the second half. Giddy scored 21 points while Trey added 14. Trey’s final points came with 4 seconds remaining; leaving Austin to force a half-court shot that fell short.
“What I’m proud of isn’t really the last play, but the last 54 seconds,” Tedford said. “We worked on it this week in practice. We didn’t execute it in the first half, but we were able to get the very last shot without giving Austin a shot. And that’s the first time all year we’ve done that.”
While Athens led for most of the game, Austin fought hard to match its biggest lead of the game at 58-54 with less than two minutes remaining. Giddy quickly erased that deficit, hitting a 17-foot bank-shot followed by a pair of free throws to tie the game.
After Austin’s Malique Elliot missed two free throws, Athens regained possession with less than a minute to play and held on for the last shot. Elliot led the visitors with 21 points.
The win demonstrated how Athens has improved since starting the season 0-3 and losing to Austin 65-45 in their first meeting. Tuesday’s win over rival Austin was Athens eighth consecutive victory since beating then Class 4A No.1 Dallas County in a tournament at Wallace State during Christmas break.
Athens is currently undefeated in area play and has a chance to complete the clean sweep for the second consecutive season when they host Muscle Shoals Jan. 28. Athens next game will be at home against Grissom, Friday, Jan. 25.
Athens erased a nine-point halftime deficit to pull within two points entering the fourth quarter, but ran out of gas in a 77-70 loss to Austin. Austin started the fourth quarter on a 13-3 run that Athens could not overcome.
Alliyah Smith led Athens with 23 points and Destiny Bailey added 21. Jazzmin Hicks scored 13 and Jasmin Lucas had 10. Tyra Johnson led all Austin scorers with 25 points.