CLEVELAND — Karlee Clements was the starting point guard for a game at Quicken Loans Arena. The Avon senior also watched Cavaliers superstar LeBron James walk past her into the locker room.
Those memories will last far longer than the outcome of the non-league matchup, which saw Wadsworth beat the Eagles 52-31 Tuesday afternoon.
“This was incredible, going from playing in a high school gym to being here in an NBA arena,” Clements said. “The only time we got a little worried was when we started shooting and you couldn’t see where the (seating bowl) ended, but that was kind of cool, too. The lights were so bright when we stepped on the court and everything seemed so much bigger during the game. It was an experience that none of us will ever forget.”
Junior forward Elizabeth Flynn scored seven points to lead Avon (7-3), while senior center — and University of Dayton recruit — Amari Davidson had four points and a game-high nine rebounds. Senior forward Maggie Beatty added four points and two blocked shots, and Clements had two assists.
The Eagles only trailed 14-13 after the first quarter before the Grizzlies (9-1) turned up their defensive intensity, holding them scoreless for the next 121⁄2 minutes.
Wadsworth senior point guard Sophia Fortner, who will continue her career at the University of Toledo, made four steals and scored five of her 10 points during the 22-0 avalanche. She also won her good natured showdown with AAU teammate Davidson.
“I was blessed to be able to play with my close friend in this setting,” Fortner said. “Amari has worked her butt off to become the player she is, and I’m so proud of her.”
While the 6-foot-2 Davidson was the tallest athlete on the floor, the Grizzlies had a decided size and strength advantage, which Avon coach Meghan Larrick cited as the difference in the middle quarters.
University of Georgia volleyball recruit Kacie Evans had 10 points and four boards for Wadsworth, Toledo basketball signee Lexi Lance rung up eight points and five boards, and senior forward Peyton Banks collected 10 points and eight rebounds.
Eagles senior guard Juliann Walker provided support on the glass with five rebounds, but no other Avon player had more than two.
“Wadsworth is a very physical team, so we tried to play that way against them,” Larrick said. “We were able to compete by doing that for stretches, but they just wore us down at times.”
Backup forward Rachel Hapanowicz ended Avon’s lengthy drought by scoring off an offensive rebound midway through the third to cut its deficit to 36-15. The Grizzlies answered with a 9-1 run — completing their 31-3 onslaught — when Banks buried a 3-pointer to begin the fourth.
Sophomore guard Ashlee Torbert and junior forward Shea Kane each had five points off the bench in the second half for the Eagles.
“Though we didn’t win the game, I’m very excited and happy about the opportunity we had to play here,” Larrick said. “A lot of student-athletes can’t say they ever played in a great arena like this, near their hometown. I’m grateful that our girls and our program did.”
Wadsworth 52, Avon 31
AVON (31): Maggie Beatty 2-0-4, Elizabeth Flynn 3-0-7, Amari Davidson 1-2-4, Juliann Walker 1-0-2, Karlee Clements 0-0-0, Ashlee Torbert 2-0-5, Rachel Hapanowicz 1-0-2, Kelsey Gannon 1-0-2, Jules Frombach 0-0-0, Shea Kane 2-1-5, Stacey Vo 0-0-0, Alyssa Peganoff 0-0-0. Totals 13-3-31.
WADSWORTH (52): Peyton Banks 4-1-10, Maddie Movsesian 0-0-0, Lexi Lance 3-2-8, Taylor Leatherman 2-0-4, Sophia Fortner 2-5-10, Kacie Evans 3-4-10, Kylee Batey 3-0-7, Allison Elchlinger 0-0-0, E’Anna Won 0-0-0, Molly Palecek 0-0-0, Maggie Long 1-0-3, Stephanie Andrews 0-0-0, Lauren Zufra 0-0-0, Sami Shaffer 0-0-0, Gabriella Inestroza 0-0-0. Totals 18-12-52.
Avon 13 0 3 15 — 31
Wadsworth 14 14 14 10 — 52
Three-point goals: Flynn, Torbert, Banks, Fortner, Batey, Long; Rebounds: Avon 25 (Davidson 9), Wadsworth 27 (Banks 8); Assists: Avon 5 (Clements 2), Wadsworth 12 (Movsesian 3); Field goals: Avon 13-35 (37.1 percent), Wadsworth 18-45 (40.0 percent); Free throws: Avon 3-8 (37.5 percent), Wadsworth 12-20 (60.0 percent); Total fouls: Avon 14, Wadsworth 10; Turnovers: Avon 18, Wadsworth 13.