TYLER -- It took some doing, but the Athens Hornets were finally able to put away rival Brownsboro and claim the Gold Bracket championship of the Wagstaff Holiday Classic.

After leading by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, the Hornets withstood an 8-1 Brownsboro run down the stretch by knocking down key free throws in the final two minutes of their 69-61 win Friday night on the campus of Tyler Junior College.

Athens finished the three-day tournament 3-0, earning wins over Chapel Hill (94-71) and Kilgore (75-66) the first two days.

“We have a run against good teams. In the fourth quarter our kids are pretty smart about trying to hold the lead, playing with the lead, and not making too many silly mistakes," said Athens coach Cliff Thompson. "We had a few today, but Brownsboro kinda forced some of those because they’re a good team.”

Junior guard Miles Koehler was the catalyst, leading Athens with 29 points, which included five 3-pointers. Koehler had 19 points in the second half, and eight in the fourth quarter.

“This is his third year starting on varsity and he’s only a junior," Thompson said of Koehler. "He’s been doing it for a while, and even if it’s not points, he’s gonna take charges and play defense. He’s one of those guys that helps us win in a lot of ways. When he needs to hit big shots he will.”

Athens was in control for most of the night, but Brownsboro managed to keep the game interesting.

The Hornets had a 10-point lead in the second quarter, but Brownsboro cut the lead to five, 35-30, at halftime. Athens' 9-0 run at the end of the third pushed its lead to nine points.

Jabrile Richardson finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks in the win for the Athens, while Chris Taylor added 10 points, six assists, three rebounds, and three steals.

Gary Lyons contributed six points, six assists, and four steals as well.

Brownsboro was paced by Kenneth Woods, who registered 26 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Jake Conner chipped in with 10 points, three boards, and four assists.

Both teams are back in action Tuesday. Athens plays at Mabank, while Brownsboro travels to Henderson.


Wagstaff Holiday Classic
Gold Bracket Championship
At Tyler Junior College

Athens 69, Brownsboro 61

Brownsboro       14    16    14    17    —    61
Athens               13    22    17    17    —    69
BROWNSBORO — Kenneth Woods, 26; Jake Conner, 10; Kevon Thompson, 9; Jamal Bell, 6; Wyatt Rinehart, 6; Saul Williams, 4.
ATHENS — Miles Koehler, 29; Jabrile Richardson, 16; Chris Taylor, 10; Javiry Bowman, 8; Gary Lyons, 6.
THREE-POINT GOALSBrownsboro: Conner, Thompson. Athens: Koehler (5), Bowman, Taylor.