Lady ’Lopes still in running for playoffs

Avonworth’s Katie Gould struggles to get off a shot against section leader Carlynton. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

As basketball season reached the halfway point, the Avonworth girls basketball team earned a pivotal victory when they traveled to Freedom last Thursday. In a battle that had the teams in a tie after each of the first three quarters, the Lady ‘Lopes hung tough, playing a solid fourth quarter on their way to a 53-48 win.

"It was an important win for us," said coach Bob Schulz.

The victory moved the 'Lopes into fourth place in the section, a game ahead of the Bulldogs, with both teams for the time being vying for the final playoff spot.

The game started slowly for both teams as they struggled to get their offenses in gear. Avonworth's Caitlyn Miller hit a free throw early on but the Lady ‘Lopes trailed 6-1 a little over two-and-a-half minutes into the first quarter.

Erika Thomas scored on a put-back and Madison Sheehan scored twice from inside to produce a 6-1 Antelope run and a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter.

Avonworth started the second quarter with a 5-1 run, thanks to Montee'a Hunter's three-pointer and coast-to-coast basket that came off of a steal to give the 'Lopes a 12-8 lead.

The lead would change three times in the quarter, with Freedom having the last one with 1:59 left in the half. Katie Gould then backed in towards the basket for a score and added a pair of free throws that enabled the 'Lopes to go to the half tied at 20.

Mackenzie Mayernik got on the scorer's sheet with a couple of baskets in the third quarter, but the teams continued to battle through six lead changes in the period. Hunter scored four points, while Gould and Sheehan added baskets, but the teams ended the period in a 32-32 tie.

Sheehan scored eight points in the fourth quarter, including six early on that gave Avonworth the lead for good at 38-37.

Mayernik and Hunter came up big for the 'Lopes from the free throw line, combining for 8-8 over the next minute and a half that allowed Avonworth to lead 46-38. Freedom was not able to recover, and the 'Lopes finished strong on their way to a 53-48 win.

"It was an outstanding effort tonight," said Schulz.

Hunter and Sheehan finished with 14 points each, followed by Mayernik with 10, Gould with 8, Thomas with 4 and Miller with 3.

Avonworth played a nonsection game at Eden Christian Academy last Saturday and won 44-22.

The 'Lopes led by only one point at the half, but out-scored their opponent 17-2 in the third quarter on the way to the victory.

Sheehan led the Lady ‘Lopes with 13 points, followed by Mayernik with 10, Hunter with 7, Gould with 6, Hanna Lapiska and Morgan Rader each with 2 points and Thomas and Miller each with 1 point.

Avonworth hosted section leader Carlynton this past Monday, and lost 41-38.

Schulz was pleased with his team's overall play defensively, as they showed a couple of new looks, but pointed to free throws as the big difference in the game.

Carlynton connected on 16-22 from the line, while Avonworth was 5-14 from the stripe.

In the first quarter, a pull-up jumper by Hunter and a three-point play by Gould had the 'Lopes trailing 6-5, but the Cougars closed with a 6-1 run to lead 12-6 at the end of the quarter.

Thomas scored eight points to carry the Antelope offense in the second quarter.

The 'Lopes were behind when Thomas broke the Cougars’ press for a basket to start a 7-0 run that included a basket by Gould on a drive and a three-point bank shot by Hunter to give Avonworth a 21-20 lead with 1:20 left in the quarter.

Carlynton reclaimed the lead, but Mayernik hit on a jumper from seven feet off an inbounds play that gave the 'Lopes a 23-22 halftime lead.

The Cougars opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run and baskets by Gould and Hunter came late in the period as the Lady ‘Lopes were behind 32-27 heading into the fourth quarter.

Carlynton opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to take their biggest lead at 38-27. Avonworth battled back to out-score the Cougars 11-3, but it would not be enough. They fell 41-38.

Hunter led Avonworth with 10 points, followed by Gould with 9 and Thomas with 8.

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