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Athens edges Marathon

Athens edges Marathon Athens edges Marathon

Hartwig hits the game-winning free throw in tilt

By Casey Krautkramer

The Athens varsity girls basketball team’s freshmen players are quickly maturing this season.

Good examples of this happening are freshman Jazelle Hartwig sinking the game-winning free throw against Marathon on Friday and freshman Sophia Coker achieving a team-high 14 rebounds and five steals against the Red Raiders.

Athens built a 26-20 halftime advantage against Marathon but the Red Raiders rallied in the second half to nearly pull off a home victory. Junior Jada Prihoda’s pair of made free throws tied the game at 40 points for each team with three-and-ahalf minutes left in the game.

The game then became a back-andforth affair. Hartwig’s layup gave Athens the lead again, at 42-40, but Marathon junior Allison Wokatsch quickly answered with a bucket to tie the contest again. Sophia Coker’s easy basket inside gave the Bluejays a 44-42 advantage but Red Raiders sophomore Kali Prihoda’s jumper in the lane tied the score at 44 points for each team with only 20 seconds remaining.

Unfortunately for Marathon, Kali Prihoda was called for committing a foul against Hartwig with a mere 3.8 seconds left on the clock. Hartwig drained her first bonus free throw to give the Bluejays a 45-44 lead. She failed to make her second free throw, but it didn’t matter because the Red Raiders’ missed a very long three pointer at the buzzer.

Jazelle, who is the daughter of AJ and Tanille Hartwig, described what was going through her head while she concentrated on making her first bonus free throw.

“I just thought to myself, ‘my team needs me right now,’ so I just need to dig in and make this free throw for my team,” Jazelle said after the game.

There might be some animosity between older and younger starting players on a basketball team, but that’s certainly not happening on the Athens squad this season. Sophia Coker said older players on this year’s team like seniors Kaitlyn Riehle and juniors Elizabeth Van Rixel and McKennzie Schug have embraced herself and her twin sister, Sydney Coker, and the other freshmen Addison Lavicka and Hartwig.

“They really took us in like we are their little sisters,” Sophia Coker, who is the daughter of Bill and Jennifer Coker of Hamburg, said. “The older players don’t look at us like we are freshmen anymore; they treat us the same as any other player on our team.”

Schug led Athens with 13 points in the team’s 45-44 win against Marathon, while Van Rixel added 12 points she scored in the first half. Jazelle Hartwig scored all six of her points in the second half. Riehle paced the Bluejays with six assists and Van Rixel had five. Lavicka was second on the team with four steals.

Wokatsch paced Marathon with 12 points in the loss to Athens. Kali Prihoda and sophomore Ashley Phatkitthong added nine points apiece. Jada Prihoda and senior Anna Cleven chipped in six points each. Athens’ victory against Marathon counts in the Marawood North Conference standings. The Bluejays are in second place in the North with a 7-3 record behind undefeated Phillips in first place. Athens has won three of its last four games to improve its overall record to 8-7 this season. Athens’ home games scheduled against Augusta on Tuesday and Manawa this Thursday, Jan. 28, have been canceled.

Red Raiders down Cards

Marathon’s girls basketball season picked up a big non-conference home win, 45-30, against Stevens Point Pacelli on Tuesday.

The Red Raiders built a commanding 25-11 halftime advantage against the Cardinals.

Senior Hope Krautkramer led Marathon with 12 points, while Allison Wokatsch added 11 and Cleven had nine. Marathon improves its record to 7-11 overall season.

EMOTIONAL WIN EMBRACE- The thrill of winning a close game is evident on Athens junior McKennzie Schug’s face while she hugs her junior teammate, Elizabeth Van Rixel (14). Athens players like Schug had good reason to celebrate the team’s one-point victory against Marathon on Friday. Other Bluejays pictured are Kaitlyn Riehle (3) and Celina Ellenbecker (4).STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER

ENJOYING THE LEAD- Bluejays freshman guard Addison Lavicka (2) shares a laugh with her senior guard Kaitlyn Riehle (3) after their freshman teammate, Jazelle Hartwig, sank a bonus free throw to give the team a 45-44 advantage and victory against the Red Raiders.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER

TOUGH ON THE GLASS- Athens freshman post player Sophia Coker grabs one of her team-high 14 rebounds in the second half of her team’s 45-44 road win against Marathon on Friday. She beat out Marathon junior guard Jada Prihoda (3) to collect the defensive rebound. Coker’s junior teammate, Elizabeth Van Rixel (14) follows the play.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER

DRIVING TO THE HOOP- Marathon junior guard Allison Wokatsch drives hard to the basket against Athens. Wokatsch led the Red Raiders with 12 points in the team’s home defeat to Athens on Friday.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER