Antelopes watch lead disappear for 2-point loss

Avonworth’s Matt Crilley (No. 20), pictured here in Tuesday’s close contest against Seton LaSalle, scored a game-high 24 points. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

After jumping out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter, the Avonworth boys’ basketball team saw their lead slowly disappear throughout the contest when they hosted Seton LaSalle in section play this past Tuesday.

The Rebels claimed their only lead with :04 left on the clock to defeat the Antelopes 49-47.

In the first quarter Matt Crilley-scored eight of his game-high 24 points, as he was unstoppable down inside the Seton LaSalle defense.

Mike Noethiger and Garrett Day added some offense from the perimeter as Avonworth connected on 8-14 shots from the field in the opening quarter. In that same frame the Rebels struggled, hitting on only 2-14 from the floor as the ‘Lopes led 18-6 when the first quarter ended.

Seton LaSalle picked it up on offense in the second quarter, highlighting their offense with three baskets from beyond the arc while Avonworth shot 38 percent from the field. The teams went into halftime with the Antelopes maintaining a 28-22 lead.

Crilley and Noethiger combined for nine points in the third quarter, where the teams traded baskets but the Rebels held a 10-9 point advantage that cut the ‘Lopes’ lead to 37-32 heading into the final period.

Seton LaSalle crept closer to the lead and pulled into a tie with Avonworth at 41-41 with 5:35 remaining in the game. Crilley and Noethigher combined for 3-of-4 from the free throw line over the next several minutes to put the Antelopes in front and the Rebels made 1-of-2 from the line, putting the score at 44-42.

Jake Harper scored on a put-back basket inside and then converted the free throw after he was fouled to complete a three-point play for a 47-43 lead for Avonworth with 2:37 remaining. The teams traded possessions before Seton LaSalle knocked down a three-ball to cut Avonworth’s lead to 47-46 with 1:10 left.

Consecutive turn-overs by Avonworth, Seton LaSalle and then Avonworth again came before the Rebels were facing a 1-1 situation from the free throw line after being fouled. Seton LaSalle was not able to convert but they were awarded possession when the ball was batted out of bounds after the missed free throw with :16 left.

The Rebels made good on a three-point play when they banked in a shot just outside of the lane and converted the ensuing free throw after being fouled on the play to lead 49-47.

Day came up short on his final shot to end the game.

Adding to the Antelopes’ offense were Noethiger with 11 points, Darius Simmons 4, Day and Harper each with 3 and JJ Igims with 2 points.

Last Saturday Avonworth participated in the New Castle Shootout Tournament and defeated Laurel 65-62. Day led the ‘Lope scorers with 17 points followed by Simmons with 16, Crilley with 15 and Noethiger with 10 points.

Avonworth hosted Mohawk in non-conference play last Friday and cruised to a 66-48 victory. “We played hard with a lot of guys scoring and shooting the ball better,” said ‘Lopes coach Dan Bradley.

Avonworth was able to get a comfortable lead early on utilizing their full court man to man trapping defense which Mohawk had difficulty in handling.

“We’re always working on our defense and trying to get better,” said Bradley.
The Antelopes had four double digit scorers that included Day with 18 points, Crilley with 16, Harper with 15 and Noethiger with 13 points.