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NTL GIRLS' BASKETBALL: TOWANDA USES FAST START TO PULL AWAY FROM ATHENS (2022-01-28)

Northern Tier Sports Report
TOWANDA — Towanda had a statement win on Thursday, beating Athens 52-25 during NTL Division-I girls’ basketball action.

The game, which was originally scheduled the first week of January, had been moved several times before eventually landing just before the month ended.


However, the shifting dates didn’t seem to matter to the Knights, as they jumped out to a 16-4 first quarter lead and never looked back, behind 39 points from Paige Manchester and Porschia Bennett.


“We got out to a great start defensively, and created some early turnovers that got us out to a good lead,” said Towanda coach Robert Gentile. “To Athens’ credit, they made some adjustments against our pressure defenses, but just didn’t make shots tonight that they normally make. We also limited their second chance points, and defensive rebounded very well. This was probably one of the best defensive efforts we’ve had as a team since I’ve been here all across the board. Our kids were all on the same page tonight.”


Manchester finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 boards to go with five assists, while Bennett had 19 points, three boards, three assists, and two steals.


Gracie Schoonover didn’t score, but did have another solid outing on the defensive side of the ball with nine rebounds, six blocks, and five steals.


Bella Hurley chipped in with seven points, as Destiny Brennan and Aziza Ismailova had three points apiece.


Bennett led Towanda out of the gates with seven points in the first quarter, while Manchester had four as Brennan added a 3-ball.


Athens was able to get some footing in the second, holding Towanda to 10 points as Bennett led the way with four, to take a 26-9 halftime lead.


In the third, though, Manchester got rolling, hitting two 3-balls en route to a 10 point frame to build a 38-15 lead going into the fourth.


In the final quarter Bennett led the way for Towanda with seven points, including a 3-pointer, while Hurley chipped in with five.


Defensively, they held Athens’ 1,000 point scorer Caydence Macik to just seven on the night.


The win effectively ends Athens' chances of claiming the NTL Division-I title, as they now have three losses, while Towanda sits undefeated. 


These two teams will face-off once again, this time up in the valley, on Monday, with a 7:30 p.m. start.


PHOTO CAPTION: Towanda’s Paige Manchester passes ahead against Athens…PHOTOS BY DAVID ALLIGER



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