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SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2007
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Athens girls lasso Mustangs in blowout win
Eagles’ boys have intensity, but lack points

By Ashley Hargrove
sports@decaturdaily.com· 340-2460

ATHENS — A strong start to Saturday night’s matchup with Madison Academy lifted the No. 4-ranked Athens High girls to a 73-28 win over the Lady Mustangs.

The Lady Eagles (14-3) held Madison Academy to only 12 points in the first half, while scoring 39 of their own.

“This was a big win for us,” Athens sophomore forward Amelia Ridgeway said. “It’s games like this that help us improve for the bigger games to come.”

After taking a 27-point lead into halftime, Athens outscored the Lady Mustangs 18-11 in the third quarter and 16-5 in the final period.

LaCresha Horton and Brittany Hovell led Athens with 14 points each. Jenae Strong followed with 13 points. Shoulders and Ridgeway each added eight points.

Alissa Hargett led Madison Academy with 10 points.

Ridgeway said she sees some of the same characteristics in this Athens team that also belonged to the 2002 and 2003 teams that won state championships.

“We’re a defensive and close-unit team,” Ridgeway said. “We’re like family. We take positive criticism and learn from each other like both of those teams did.”

Teammates Sierra Caudle and Keona Shoulders agreed with Ridgeway.

“We both have a drive for the game,” Shoulders said.

The Lady Eagles will play again Tuesday at home against Russellville in a key Class 5A, Area 16 game.

“We’re going to polish a few things up at practice and improve on offense and our full- and half-court press. It’s just a matter of executing it,” Ridgeway said.

Madison Academy boys 56, Athens 55: Athens battled the fourth-ranked team in 3A down to the wire Saturday night but couldn’t secure the win.

“The intensity was definitely there tonight. ... Our missed free throws and turnovers made a difference in the ball game,” Athens coach Venard Hendrix said.

Justin Pitts lead Athens (5-11) with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jeremy Stinnett added 12 points, four rebounds and five steals. Larquis Crutcher followed with 11.

Bawa Muniru led Madison Academy (14-5) with 14
points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Tyler Parker added 12.

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