Antelopes can’t get past Quips

By ANDREW DOMENCIC

Last Friday, Avonworth welcomed the number-one ranked team in Pennsylvania, the Aliquippa Quips, to their packed gymnasium to engage in a contest some thought would be similar to last month's game -- a game where Avonworth struggled mightily in an eventual blow-out loss. This time, however, Avonworth looked like a completely different team than the one from a month ago, and they put a scare in the hearts of Aliquippa. They still were unable to come away with a win, losing a game that was much closer than the final score indicated, 75-61.

Avonworth came out playing with great intensity and matched the Quips basket for basket. After Aliquippa's first possession gave them a quick 3-0 lead, the Antelopes answered immediately as Josh Drwal was able to hit a three and tie the game. The rest of the quarter progressed in similar fashion, with both teams exchanging baskets, but Aliquippa went on a scoring streak toward the end to make it 15-8 going into the second quarter.

Aliquippa continued their scoring streak and increased their lead to 21-8 before Adam Joyce hit a three to pull within 10 points, 21-11. Later in the quarter, finding themselves down by 12, Avonworth promptly closed out the half with their own six-point streak to pull to 29-23 and send the crowd into a frenzy at halftime.

The 'Lopes' momentum carried over into the second half as they continued to cut into the Quips' lead, eventually within one point, 29-28. The teams then went back and forth for much of the third quarter, and Avonworth hit some key three-point shots to keep the game close going into the final quarter as they trailed by only eight.

After Aliquippa increased their lead to 55-44, Avonworth once again proved that they were not going to give up and they were able to bring the score to 57-50 on a string of possessions culminating in Joyce hitting another key three with 3:54 remaining in the contest.

Despite their valiant effort, however, they could not come away with the win as the Quips pulled away for the eventual 75-61 victory.

"Late in the game we got into some foul trouble, but we played hard all game," Avonworth head coach Dan Bradley said. "I thought we did a lot of great things here tonight. They're the number-one team in the state, and we played well. They're pretty good, and I think we're pretty good, and we were in there to the end."

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