NEW CHAPEL HILL — The new-look Athens boys basketball team is hitting stride at the perfect time.
With five new starters this season, the Hornets continued their march into the postseason Tuesday night. Terrance Behan finished with a memorable 29 points in an 84-71 victory against Chapel Hill in District 17-3A action at the CHHS gymnasium.
“We were hitting the shots, got a lead and got some confidence,” said Athens coach Tracy Carter, who took the Hornets to the regional finals last season. “But Chapel Hill is a great team.”
With the win, Athens (22-11, 6-1) will finish no lower than second in the final district standings with one game to go. Chapel Hill (12-15, 3-3) can clinch a playoff berth by beating Bullard on Friday night.
Behan quickly made it clear that this night would belong to him, draining a 3-pointer for the game’s first points and sinking another to put the Hornets up 8-1. He finished the first half with 14 points, then put the exclamation point on the win with two breakaway dunks in the fourth quarter to increase the margin to almost 20 points.
“He was shooting it well,” said Carter, the reigning All-East Texas Coach of the Year. “Once he starts getting them he can get hot and stay hot.”
Anthony Sanders contributed 16 points for the Hornets, who staved off several rally attempts by Chapel Hill, which couldn’t get any closer than five points in the second half.
The Bulldogs were led by Anthony Kincade and Michael Harris, who finished the night with 23 and 19 points, respectively.
Athens made adjustments at the break — while leading by seven — to limit Harris, who scored only four points in the second half.
In the girls game, Chapel Hill finished the season with its first district win by beating Athens 52-48.
The Lady Bulldogs were paced by Shay Ross, who scored 25 points. D’Errica Campbell added 13 points.
Athens’ Demi Cumby scored 23.
District 17-3A Boys
Athens 84, Chapel Hill 71
Athens 21 14 19 19—84
Chapel Hill 12 18 17 13—71
ATHENS — Patrick Clark, 8; Dewayne Hannah, 3; Anthony Taylor, 7; Zach Basher, 9; Terrance Behan, 29; Anthony Sanders, 16; Greg Sanders, 8; Carter Harraid, 4.
CHAPEL HILL — Anthony Kincade, 23; Julius Hill, 5; Michael Harris, 19; D.T. Sammons, 9; Andrew Tucker, 7; Avery Henderson, 6; Jeremy Threlkeld, 2.
THREE POINT GOALS — A: Behan (3), A. Sanders (2), Taylor. CH: Kincade (5), Hill, Sammons.
RECORDS — Athens 22-11 (6-1); Chapel Hill 12-15 (3-3).
NEXT UP — Athens at Bullard, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; Bullard at Chapel Hill, 7:30 p.m. Friday.
District 17-3A Girls
Chapel Hill 52, Athens 48
Athens 16 11 8 13—48
Chapel Hill 9 12 12 14—52
ATHENS — Phillips, 6; Coby, 4; Cumby, 23; Lawrence, 5; Kalawe, 6; Aguilera, 4.
CHAPEL HILL — D’Errica Campbell, 13; Lauren Perry, 2; Amber Jones, 4; Shay Ross, 25; Brandi Gouldthorpe, 2; Bethany Threlkeld, 6.
THREE POINT GOALS — T1: First Last (0), First Last (0), First Last (0). T2: First Last (0), First Last (0), First Last (0).
RECORDS — Athens 14-15 (3-5); Chapel Hill 9-18 (1-7).
NEXT UP — Regular season complete.