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Athens’ Trio Of Anthony Sanders, Courtland Lyons + Ryan Jefferson Leads Hornets By John Tyler + Into Gold Bracket Final of Wagstaff Holiday Classic

Athens’ Ryan Jefferson (left) brings the ball upcourt while being pursued by John Tyler’s Darren Farmer (24) and Kevron Jackson during Athens’ 80-67 win Friday at the Wagstaff Holiday Classic in Tyler. (Christopher R. Vinn,

TYLER — No. 23 Athens used a big third quarter from its big three to distance itself from John Tyler in the Hornets’ 80-67 victory Friday in a Gold Bracket semifinal at the Wagstaff Holiday Classic.

Athens (14-1) will face Whitehouse at 8:30 p.m. Saturday for the Gold Bracket championship at Tyler Junior College’s Wagstaff Gym.

John Tyler’s Kevron Jackson (right) works against Athens’ Chris Jefferson during their game Friday at the Wagstaff Holiday Classic in Tyler. (Christopher R. Vinn,

The Hornets were led by the trio of Anthony Sanders, Courtland Lyons and Ryan Jefferson, which combined for 73 of Athens’ 80 points. Sanders finished with a game-high 27 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Lyons added 24 points, four boards and a pair of steals, while Jefferson poured in 22 points with eight rebounds, six steals and three assists.

John Tyler had 10 players reach the scoring column. Jordan Caldwell led the way with 10 points and five rebounds. Tavian Teal also scored 10 points, Isaac Warren had nine points, five boards and two steals, while Ken’Darrian Johnson and Kevron Jackson combined for 16 points and eight rebounds in the losing cause.

Athens closed the second quarter on a 13-1 to go into halftime with a 32-30 lead on John Tyler (7-6). The Hornets picked up where they left off in the third quarter. The first of Sanders’ three 3-pointers in the period gave the Hornets a 41-38 lead at the 5:39 mark.

Caldwell’s 3 at the other end cut the Athens lead to 44-43, but the Hornets responded with a game-changing 12-0 run to build a 13-point advantage with 1:01 remaining in the third. Sanders had a pair of 3’s and Lyons scored on three consecutive possessions during the pivotal spurt. Overall in the third quarter, the trio of Sanders, Lyons and Jefferson combined for 24 of Athens’ 26 points.

John Tyler got as close as 10 points, 67-57, in the fourth, but Sanders scored six of Athens’ next seven points to help the Hornets extend their lead to 74-57 with 2:17 remaining.

The Lions will face Houston Redemption Christian at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the third-place game of the Gold Bracket.

John Tyler’s Jordan Caldwell (center) tries to pass between two Athens defenders during their game Friday at the Wagstaff Holiday Classic in Tyler. (Christopher R. Vinn,

No. 23 Athens 80, John Tyler 67

Wagstaff Holiday Classic

Gold Bracket Semifinal

At Tyler Junior College’s Wagstaff Gym

John Tyler              16   14   15   22   —   67
Athens                   11   21   26   22   —   80
JOHN TYLER (7-6) — Jordan Caldwell, 10; Tavian Teal, 10; Isaac Warren, 9; Kevron Jackson, 8; Ken’Darrian Johnson, 8; Rodney Bendy, 6; Darren Farmer, 6; Keaunte Humber, 5; Patrick Williams, 3; Jacob Owens-Bush, 2.
ATHENS (14-1) — Anthony Sanders, 27; Courtland Lyons, 24; Ryan Jefferson, 22; Josh Garrett, 6; Travon Fuller, 1.
THREE-POINT GOALSJohn Tyler: Teal (2), Caldwell. Athens: Sanders (4), Jefferson.

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