‘Lopes win close one vs Flames

Avonworth’s Deon Thomas drives past Northgate defender Malcolm Randall (32) and Raylan Whetsel (13) for a lay-up during Tuesday night’s game. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By Patrick Gannon

On Tuesday the Avonworth Antelopes hosted the Northgate Flames at Avonworth High School. Both teams entered the contest with records of two wins and zero losses. The Antelopes won the game by a score of 57-51.

The first quarter began with the Northgate’s Malcom Randall scoring a quick bucket to put the Flames up by two. Avonworth senior Patrick Gannon quickly responded with a jump-shot on the other end to extinguish the Flames’ lead. With every point scored by Northgate, Avonworth responded with one of their own, and the game was tied at 13 entering the second quarter.

The ‘Lopes clicked into gear to start the second quarter with an 11-0 run led by juniors Deon Thomas, Adam McKinney, and Jordan Rapp, and seniors Gannon and Turner Grau. Northgate then went on a run of their own to regain a three-point lead going into the half.

As the third quarter began, the ‘Lopes executed perfectly on defense, allowing Northgate to score only two points. The Avonworth offense lacked, but entering the final quarter the ‘Lopes were able to regain the lead by a score of 33-30.

The atmosphere began to resemble rivalry games of the past as the final quarter began. The Flames jumped out to an early lead, but the ‘Lopes weren’t done just yet and tied the game back up. Avonworth led 52-51 with one minute left on the clock when Northgate fouled McKinney and sent him to the free throw line. McKinney made one of two shots and managed to get his own rebound, score a lay-up and make another free throw to put the ‘Lopes up by five points. Grau made two more free throws and the Lopes won the game.

Thomas led all Antelopes with a career-high 18 points. Randall led the Flames with 18 as well.

Northgate senior Ryan Puskar commented, “We gave it all we had and never quit. I’m proud of our team for that.”