Senior Maddie McCleary embraced junior Greer Moseley Friday night on the Athens Academy sideline just after she exchanged high-fives and a few laughs with classmate Gabby Mastandrea as they watched the seconds tick away on a 51-44 win for the Lady Spartans.
The long-awaited victory over rival Prince Avenue Christian had finally come for members of the class of 2018.
The last time Athens Academy’s girls’ basketball team defeated PACS’ girls basketball team was on Dec. 21, 2012 in a 42-37 overtime game.
All of the players who were on the court as the clocked ticked down on were in middle school and lower the last time the Lady Spartans topped their rival.
Friday night, the Lady Spartans got their revenge after suffering through 11 straight losses at the hands of the Lady Wolverines.
“That was a huge win, especially for me and Maddie (McCleary),” Mastandrea said. “We haven’t beaten them in our four years and it just feels amazing to finally be able to come out strong and lead them the whole way. I was just thinking we need to hold the ball, we can’t have any stupid fouls, and we need to stay calm. We can’t be overly aggressive, we just needed to stay together as a team and that’s what we did.”
Mastandrea led the way with 19 points. It was a new face that may have been the biggest factor in turning the tide in the rivalry, as freshman Rose Bone provided the Lady Spartans with an additional boost on offense as she put in 18 points along with six rebounds.
Bone has been a part of a middle school team that defeated PACS to win the middle school championship last season, but there was an added factor of motivation for the freshman to help the seniors earn their first victory over PACS.
For more on this story, see the Jan. 25 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, go to oconeeenterprise.com or call (706) 769-5175.