AVON — Just when the Eagles looked like they were going to take off, Westlake grounded them.
Avon had extended its lead to five points with 5:15 left in the third, but the Demons rattled off a 23-4 run over the next 9:14 to secure a 51-44 non-conference victory Saturday.
Jack Poyle broke the run with his first field goal of the game with 4:01 remaining in the fourth. It turned out to be his only points thanks largely to a strong defensive effort from Westlake’s Danny Strodtbeck.
“He is the unlikely defender,” Westlake coach Shawn Hood said after his team improved to 10-4. “Danny looks like he’s about 40 years old out there. He’s 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, he’s not very quick, but he is tough. He is tough physically, he’s tough mentally and he’s gotten it done every time we’ve asked him to (defend). I’m just so proud of him.”
Despite the Demons’ significant size advantage, Avon senior Matt Lawrence found success in the post, leading the team with 17 points and eight rebounds.
“When we came out here we knew (Gavin) Skelly was going to be a bigger, physical player,” Lawrence said of the Demons’ 6-8 junior center. “He’s got a few D-1 scouts looking at him so I thought I had to play smarter and more aggressive. I thought we had a good all-around effort from our guards feeding it into the post. We usually don’t do that, but it worked out good this game.”
Brian Kelly also scored in double figures for the Eagles (9-6), finishing with 15.
Despite being outscored 17-4 to end the third quarter, the Eagles were only down by eight points. Both teams had their fair share of chances during the first three minutes of the final period, but neither team scored. Then Westlake’s Bryan Mackenzie drained a 3-pointer with 5:15 remaining and Strodtbeck gave the Demons an encore 15 seconds later to put the game out of reach.
“I wouldn’t say it was one-sided, but we had about six minutes where we couldn’t get anything going, which was pretty much the difference,” Avon coach Kevin Sapara said. “I’m happy overall with our effort against a team like that.”
Avon cut the deficit to five with 1:05 left when Kelly connected on a 3-pointer, and Westlake left the door open after missing the front end of a one-and-one. But the Eagles couldn’t close the gap any further.
“We went in the locker room and came out with one goal: stop them in the half court,” Hood said. “We may have seemed frustrated to most in the first half in the sense that they ran their stuff to perfection and scored off of it. If we’re not a good half-court defensive team we’re nothing. We’re an average to below-average team if we’re not stopping people in the half court.”
Mackenzie led Westlake with 16 points, while Shawn Turk had 13. Skelly led the Demons in rebounds with 11.
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Westlake 51, Avon 44
WESTLAKE (51): Bryan Mackenzie 5-3-16, Jamie Lackner 1-0-2, Gavin Skelly 1-4-6, Shawn Turk 6-0-13, Danny Strodtbeck 2-2-7, Makis Beach 2-1-6, Josef Hadib-Nissan 0-1-1, Brian Guzik 0-0-0. Totals 17-11-51.
AVON (44): Cordell Winters 1-2-4, A.J. Kistler 1-1-4, Matt Lawrence 7-3-17, Jack Poyle 1-0-2, Brian Kelly 7-0-15, Jordan Lawrence 0-0-0, Zack Torbert 1-0-2, Walter Rauterkus 0-0-0, Zach Gill 0-0-0. Totals 18-6-44.
Westlake 15 8 17 11 — 51
Avon 12 12 8 12 — 44
Three-point goals: Westlake 6-17 (Mackenzie 3, Turk, Strodtbeck, Beach), Avon 2-12 (Kelly, Kistler); Field goals: Westlake 17-40 (43 percent), Avon 18-41 (44 percent); Free throws: Westlake 11-18 (61 percent), Avon 6-16 (38 percent); Rebounds: Westlake 25 (Skelly 11), Avon 24 (M. Lawrence 8); Turnovers: Westlake 6, Avon 7; Total fouls: Westlake 18, Avon 18.
Junior varsity: Westlake, 46-44