ELYRIA — Basketball is a game of runs and Elyria Catholic made more runs than Avon did Wednesday night.
The Eagles used a third-quarter run to trim a double-digit deficit to five, but the Panthers answered by scoring the next 20 points to post a 52-37 West Shore Conference victory.
It was the fifth straight victory for Elyria Catholic after a seven-point loss in the season-opening Lorain County Holiday Tournament to Elyria.
“We were in a timeout and Brittany McNamara said that everyone makes a run and we just have to get back after it,” Panthers coach Eric Rothgery said. “We missed a lot of easy shots and we just knew they had to start falling.
“If you have watched a lot of basketball, when you make a run like (Avon) did, you exert a lot of energy. If you can break it with a quick four or five points, it can cave in and that’s what happened.”
Elyria Catholic opened the game with a 12-2 run fueled by freshman point guard Riley Schill, who scored seven of her game-high 18 points to give the Panthers the early double-digit lead.
The Panthers held the lead into the second half, leading 28-14 with just over six minutes left in the third quarter.
That’s when Avon went on its big run to cut the lead to 30-25 with 2:38 left in the third.
Payton Mitchell and Brianna Conroy combined to score all of the points for Avon — Mitchell (12 points) had a layup and a pair of free throws, while Conroy scored all seven of her points in the game with three layups and a free throw.
“After (Avon) cut it down to five, we were determined to pick it up and finish it off,” Schill said.
Finish it off they did, closing the third quarter with a 7-0 run on a Schill jumper, layups by Karissa McGrath and Becky Horvath and a Schill free throw for a 37-25 lead.
Not content to rest the double-digit lead, the Panthers scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to put the game away. They had a 50-25 lead midway through the final quarter.
McGrath, who had 12 points and 17 rebounds, scored on a putback and McNamara knocked down a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. Schill added six more points in the final big run to secure the victory for the Panthers.
“It was really awesome to beat Avon,” McNamara said. “I went to Avon through middle school and I live in Avon. We didn’t beat them at all last year and it sits right with me beating them this year.”
Fittingly, the Eagles had one last run in them finishing with a 12-2 scoring spree, but it was way too little, too late.
“We are definitely going to continue working to limit the turnovers,” Avon coach Meghan Banks said. “We play aggressive defense, but we need to execute offensively. We need score and put the ball in the basket to win games. We are still trying to find our identity and we’ll keep working.”
Elyria Catholic 52, Avon 37
AVON (37): Payton Mitchell 4-4 12, Kaitlin Neumann 1-0 2, Tina Petrillo 1-2 4, Rachael Poling 0-2 2, Brianna Conroy 3-1 7, Brianna Smith 1-0 2, Jessica Yurkovich 2-2 6. Totals 12-13 37.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (52): Julia Scarpelli 1-0 2, Josie Carandang 1-2 4, Brittney McNamara 3-2 9, Riley Schill 6-6 18, Natalie Tremont 1-1 3, Shannon Hopkins 1-1 3, Karissa McGrath 6-0 12, Becky Horvath 1-1 3, Erin Herschelman 0-1 1. Totals 20-13 52.
Avon 5 9 11 12 — 37
Elyria Catholic 14 12 11 15 — 52
Three-point goals: Avon 0-of-3 (None); Elyria Catholic 2-of-11 (Carandang, McNamara). Field Goals: Avon 12-of-53 (23 percent); Elyria Catholic 20-of-58 (34 percent). Free Throws: Avon 13-of-24 (54 percent); Elyria Catholic 13-of-24 (54 percent). Rebounds: Avon 37 (Neumann 7); Elyria Catholic 51 (McGrath 17). Turnovers: Avon 13; Elyria Catholic 17. Fouled Out: None.
Junior varsity: Avon, 55-32.
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.