ATHENS — Sayre’s Lady Redskins played a good first half and led 14-10 at the break.
Then Athens’ Lady Wildcats tuned up the defensive wick, started jumping the passing lanes and rolled to a 42-20 Northern Tier League win over their visitors in the teams’ annual Pink Game on Monday night.
Sayre’s Kaitlyn Sutton, who led the team with 10 point, six steals and four rebounds, started the game with a make from behind the arc and hit from closer range for a 5-0 Redskins lead. Abbie McGaughey added a pair of free throws to push Sayre’s lead to 7-0.
Athens’ Addy Wheeler took maters into her own hands and connected three times from under the basket on offensive rebounds to make it a 7-6 game after the first eight minutes.
Sayre built its lead to 11-6 after McGaughey, who was 5-for-6 from the free throw line, hit two and Sutton scored on a leak out on an inbounds play.
The teams traded baskets for the rest of the half and Sayre led 14-10.
“We got back to our old play where we were one and done,” said Athens Head Coach Brian Miller. “We didn’t shoot that ball that well. We didn’t rebound that well. We didn’t get enough ball pressure and play passing lanes.”
The second half was a totally different case.
Athens needed just over a minute to take a lead with shots by Karlee Bartlow — off a Wheeler assist — and Mya Thompson. Back-to-back steals and scores by Bartlow and Emma Bronson added to Athens’ lead. By the time the smoke cleared, Athens had posted a 22-1 quarter and led 32-15 with one quarter to play.
Sayre had 11 turnovers in the quarter with Athens scoring on most of them as the Wildcats’ press took a toll.
Both coaches noted the quick change at the start of the second half.
“I don’t know where that first half team went,” said Sayre Head Coach Bob Fauver. “I thought we came out and were ready for the second half. Maybe we weren’t. We turned the ball over too many times against their pressure. That was the game right there.”
“It was like an on-off switch,” said Miller. “I don’t know what it was. I tried to motivate them and get them going (in the first half). They came out in the second half and kudos to them. They made a couple shots and got in the passing lanes. Momentum went our way and everybody picked up on it.”
Shut out in the first half, Bartlow was the key to the third quarter turnaround. She had 14 of her 16 points in the quarter and had three of her eight steals.
Also for Athens, Wheeler packaged 10 points, six boards, two steals and two assists, Mya Thompson added six points and six rebounds and Kendra Merrill had six points.
Sare Bronson put three steals and three assists in Athens’ coffers and Emma Bronson matched Sara Bronson with two points each.
In addition to Sutton, McGaughey had six rebounds and five points for Sayre; Rylee Lantz had six boards; Liz Shaw had four rebounds and three points; and Meghan Flynn had two points.
On Wednesday, Athens will host Canton at 7:30 and Sayre will host Wyalusing at 6.
Athens 51, Blue Ridge 43
NEW MILFORD — Karlee Bartlow scored 13 points to lead the Lady Wildcats to a win on Saturday.
Bartlow also finished with four rebounds and two assists, while Addy Wheeler added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the win.
Athens would also get 11 points, nine rebounds and two assists from Mya Thompson, and Emma Bronson chipped in nine points and five assists.
Also for Athens, Sara Bronson had four points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.