No 'I' in champs: Athens Academy Middle School wins Athens Area title game - Oconee Enterprise
MONROE—Monday night Athens Academy’s middle school boys basketball team hoisted an Athens Area Middle School Championship trophy after the Spartans defeated Oglethorpe County Middle School 47-26.
The Spartans split with OCMS in their two regular season games. Spartans’ head coach Darren Hollis felt the Spartans’ jumping out to the 25-11 halftime-lead made the game played a bit part in the Spartans being able to take well-earned and calculated shots in the third and fourth quarter. The Spartans melted away much of the clock and kept the Patriots at an arm’s length on the scoreboard for most of the night.
“It was just our night,” Hollis said. “They missed some shots early. If we played them 10 times, we’d probably go 5-5. That (early lead) was huge. That gets us back into what we want to do. We got the ball out and pushed when we needed to and we pulled back when we needed to. We played great defense. We’re a lot smaller than they are. We had to go hard on the board and we did it.”
Claiming the championship is only the culmination. The Spartans’ march to winning the title started at the beginning of the season.
The Spartans had to become a team. Hollis knew at the start of practices that the Spartans had talent. Watching players go through drills Hollis immediately spotted who the stars would be in the box scores.
Those players stepped up and did their parts in Monday’s win. Ben Shar and Kymel Williams both led the Spartans in scoring with 14 points. Both players earned All-Tournament Team honors following the game for their performances.
Two individual players didn’t win the Spartans a championship. Hollis saw Monday as a possibility when players began accepting their roles and the second team, who only played the final minute of the game on Monday, battled the starters in every practice. Hollis feels that every player that dressed on Monday night truly earned the league championship.
“It’s super special,” Hollis said. “I’ve been doing this for about 30 years and this team is just super special. They came in the gym every day willing to listen. They put their egos in check and we’ve got two or three superstars and they all play together. It’s fun to coach a great group of kids that want to play. Our second team works harder than any team in the league in practice. They don’t get much playing time, but they absolutely go after our starters. They give them the best looks. From one through 12, they all earned it.”
PHOTOS: Athens Academy vs. Oglethorpe County Middle School boys basketball championship game - ABH
The Athens Academy middle school basketball team faced Oglethorpe County Middle School in the boys championship game of the Athens Area Middle School league championship game on Monday, January 27, 2020 at George Walton Academy. The Spartans defeated Oglethorpe County 47-26 to win the championship. Click [HERE] to view photos by the Athens Banner-Herald.
PHOTOS: Westminster Christian Academy hosts Athens Academy middle school basketball - ABH
Westminster Christian Academy hosted Athens Academy in middle school basketball on Thursday, January 9, 2020. The Lady Lions and Spartans came away with victories. Click [HERE] to view photos from the Athens Banner-Herald.
Salvia named interim hoops coach at Academy - ABH Article
Athens Academy did not have to look far when the time came to find a new boys basketball coach.
Michael Salvia, who has served as assistant boys basketball coach for the past three seasons, was named interim coach on Monday afternoon, Athens Academy athletic director Kevin Petroski confirmed.
Salvia, 34, a native of Liberty, New York, succeeds Ed Wilson, who was the Spartans coach the last three seasons and left the school in late June. Wilson compiled an overall coaching record of 44-33 with a Region 8-A mark of 22-17 at Athens Academy.
In the 2018-19 season, the Spartans went 18-5 overall with an 8-2 record in the region and advanced to the second round of the Class A Private state tournament.
“I’m very excited,” said Salvia on Monday afternoon. “We have a great group of kids, a great community and great support for the basketball program. I’m excited, the kids are excited, the parents are excited. A lot of people around Athens Academy are excited for the direction the boys basketball team is going.”
Petroski said he received between 35 and 40 applications for the position and said familiarity with Salvia was a key component in his appointment as interim coach.
“He’s somebody familiar with the school and the student-athletes and he’s well-liked by all,” said Petroski. “He’s already hit the ground running. We met today and he’s already excited about making plans for this year."
Salvia, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Utica College in New York and his master’s degree in secondary education and teaching from Grand Canyon University, was an assistant girls basketball coach for three years at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia, before joining the faculty at Athens Academy. He also coached for a year at the Maret School in Washington, DC.
He also had head coaching jobs at a public school in New York and for a Nike-sponsored Elite Youth Basketball League AAU team, also in New York.
“We want to compete,” said Salvia of his Spartans team. “Winning and losing isn’t really a priority for us. We think if we take care of the details and compete, success will take care of itself. If we come in every day and compete in practice, that should carry right over, and the results will show themselves once the games come.”
When the Athens Academy basketball and volleyball team take to the floor at the Sinkwich Spartan Center this year, they’ll be playing on a recently renovated surface, Petroski said.
“We sanded the floor all the way down, which we will do periodically,” he said. “We painted a new logo in the middle of the court and we added permanent volleyball court lines. We had tape down before and it was very unsightly and unattractive and didn’t look good over time.
“The main thing a lot of us are excited about is we used water-based coating over oil-based, which we previously used. Over time it tends to have that yellowing effect you see on some courts, and ours was really bad. It looks really good. The wood has a lighter appearance.”
With an emphasis on the development of complete basketball players, the programs have enjoyed a successful history. Both boys’ and girls’ programs have a track record of multiple Region Championships and deep playoff runs.
So that our athletes receive quality instruction with a realistic opportunity for playing time, the size of teams in some sports is limited. Students "try out" for teams. Although there is no guarantee that a student will be selected for a specific team, the number and variety of offerings provide many opportunities for each player.
Athens Area Middle School Champions: 2009, 2017 Athens Area Middle SchoolRunner-Up:2010, 2011, 2012,2013, 2015