Trey Potts sunk the final free throw to put Athens High over Decatur 62-59 in overtime in the final regular season game of the season.
But as he walked off the court, his demeanor made it clear that the work isn’t over for the Golden Eagles (21-7).
“Overall, our defense was really tough at times, but it’s got to be great the whole game,” Athens coach Stace Tedford said.
The Golden Eagles came out strong, as Neil Malone started an eight-point run, capped by two 3-pointers from Nathanial Potts to grab the lead at half, 30-25.
Decatur was limited by Athens’ man-to-man pressure, but the Red Raiders found an edge in the closing minutes, as Chandler Boy struck from the 3-point line to tie the game at 52. Boy led Decatur (12-14) with 18 points in the game, with five buckets from behind the 3-point mark.
Trey Potts added another jumper for Athens before the clock ran out, but Decatur scored two free throws push the game to overtime.
“We got sloppy with the ball in the last two minutes of regulation. Our shot selection in the fourth quarter was awful,” Tedford said.
Athens scored six points in overtime before Kaleb Smith stepped up for Decatur with another 3-pointer. Trey Potts scored one from the free-throw line to give Athens the decisive win.
“I focus on making a shot and getting our team to win,” said Trey Potts of his performance.
Tedford said that while the Golden Eagles have room for improvement, the game was a good primer for the postseason.
“Everybody’s given us their best shot. It just gets us ready mentally for our guys to get through some tough times.”
Nathanial Potts led all scorers with 25 points, while Malone added 13. For Decatur, Kaleb Smith scored 13, and Na’Vante Williams added 11 point and nine rebounds.
The win also marks 13 straight for the Golden Eagles, something that gives the team confidence going forward.
“I would like to keep that going,” Potts said.
Athens girls 45, Decatur 30: After a slow start in the first quarter, the Golden Eagles (14-13) took charge and didn’t look back.
Alliyah Smith made scored from the paint to start an 8-point run that left Decatur trailing by 20 points at half.
For the game, Smith had a double-double in the game, leading all scorers with 14 points and 18 off the glass, followed by Destiny Bailey, who scored eight points. Tariana Adams added seven rebounds for Athens.
For Decatur (7-22), Tierra Wallace scored eight points, while Taneisha Johnson followed with seven. Constance Steele also added nine points.
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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