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The Athens Academy boys rolled to a 75-45 victory over Union County on Friday, picking up their fifth win in a row.
“It was just a big win for this group of kids,” Athens Academy coach Don Hurlburt said. “It was a big win for the school, and for the basketball program here at Athens Academy. We’re in the hunt — we’re in the hunt for a region championship.”
The Spartans put together a total team effort in the win over the Panthers. Five players scored in double figures, with Justen Goudelock putting up a game-high 19 points.
Athens Academy’s defensive activity kept Union County from narrowing the margin throughout the entire game. The Spartans were swarming on that side of the ball, relentlessly rotating on defense and forcing turnovers.
Those turnovers helped Athens Academy get out into transition and score easy baskets, widening the lead even more. Kymel Williams and Westbrook Adams were tied for second in scoring with 14 points, and both of them benefitted from the Spartans’ frantic fast break offense.
“That’s who we are,” Hurlburt said. “We play best when we run. We’ve got guys who are just unbelievable athletes, and so we try to take advantage of that and maximize our strengths.”
From the jump, it was clear that Athens Academy had come to play. Compared to an 81-71 loss to Union County earlier in the season, this was a completely different team.
Some of that can be credited to the team’s hot start. The Spartans had a 15-point lead after the first quarter, and a 25-point lead at the half. Athens Academy was all over Union County from the very start of the game, and that hot start dictated the entire rest of the matchup.
“When we start strong — when we start fast — we play our best,” Hurlburt said. “They got it going, and they started feeding off that energy and just kept building, building, building. Union is a really good team, but they were never able to get a counter and go on a run of their own.”
“Tomorrow, we’ll get up and go back to work,” Hurlburt said. “We’ve got another really good team coming in here Tuesday night in Providence Christian. Tonight was fabulous, but it’s old news now. That’s the journey we’re on.”
Athens Academy couldn’t ride the momentum to another victory on Tuesday night, dropping a matchup with Providence Christian 61-53. Next, the Spartans will hit the road to face Banks County on Friday.