AVON — Avon Lake was like an old steam engine Wednesday night when it faced rival Avon in a Southwestern Conference showdown.
It took the Shoregals a while to get up to operating speed, but once they did they produced enough heat and energy to make everyone else look like they were standing still.
After falling behind by eight points in the first quarter, Avon Lake used a dominating second-quarter performance to power its way to a 52-36 win.
The Shoregals (6-1, 4-1 SWC) scored the first 17 points of the second quarter and outscored the Eagles 20-2 in the quarter to turn that early deficit into a 26-16 halftime lead.
Senior Amber Achladis, who led the Shoregals with 15 points, had a pair of 3-pointers during Avon Lake’s second-quarter run.
“(Avon) had real good defense off the bat so it was tough for us to get into our offense, then coach called us over and reminded us to just get back to the basics, picking and rolling and cutting,” Achladis said. “That’s what helped us get back into it. Our coach always calls a timeout at the right time and tells us to settle down. He always does a good job of knowing when we start to panic and settles us down.”
For Avon (1-5, 0-4), all of the hard work that went into building an early 14-6 seemed like a distant memory as the Eagles went over eight minutes without scoring a point until Caitlin Mone went strong to the basket and made a layup with 1:12 remaining in the half.
“We talked about being aggressive and being consistent from the start and I think we did that,” Avon coach Meghan Larrick said. “It’s been unfortunate we haven’t been able to put together a full game. Each game there’s one quarter that does us in. That happened again tonight so we’re just gonna get back to the drawing board and continue to work hard.”
Avon senior Elizabeth Flynn scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half as the Eagles fought to get back into the game, however they were unable to get the deficit to fewer than nine points.
“It’s always good to beat your rival team. I think we had some extra intensity tonight. We were in it to win it,” Shoregals junior guard Arianna Negron said. “This is one of our biggest games of the whole year. We really want to beat them. Last year we were 2-0 against them and this year we want to keep it that way.”
Negron scored 11 points and was a driving force behind an Avon Lake defense that forced 22 turnovers.
“This is an important win for us. Now we’re 6-1 and I think the SWC is finally starting to realize we’re a competitor,” Achladis said. “Usually we’re in the middle of the pack, but we’ve really turned things around this year.”
Senior Allie Heschel was the only other Shoregals player in double figures with 10 points.
“It’s sweet to come out of here with a win,” Avon Lake coach Dave Zvara said. “Especially after the way they came out in the first quarter, with more intensity than we did. We were able to gather ourselves and get under control and turn it around.”
The only area where both teams struggled was at the free throw line. Avon Lake only made 50 percent of its foul shots (13-of-26) and the Eagles didn’t so themselves any favors at the line shooting just 22 percent (2-of-9).
Avon Lake 52, Avon 36
AVON LAKE (52): Amber Achladis 4-4-15, Arianna Negron 4-3-11, Lindsay Yurick 1-0-2, Emily Yarham 0-1-1, Elizabeth Murdock 1-1-3, Grace Dean 1-0-2, Allie Heschel 3-2-10, Emma Knick 3-2-8. Totals 17-13-52.
AVON (36): Abby Liber 2-1-5, Ashle Torbert 1-0-3, Catie Geiger 2-1-6, Caitlin Mone 1-0-2, Elizabeth Flynn 7-0-18, Rachel Hapanowicz 1-0-2. Totals 14-2-36.
Avon Lake 6 20 16 10 — 52
Avon 14 2 14 6 — 36
Three-point goals: Avon Lake (Achladis 3, Heschel 2), Avon (Flynn 4, Geiger, Torbert). Field goals: Avon Lake 17-42 (40 percent), Avon 14-41 (34 percent). Free throws: Avon Lake 13-26 (50 percent), Avon 2-9 (22 percent). Rebounds: Avon Lake 26, Avon 32. Turnovers: Avon Lake 13, Avon 22. Total fouls: Avon Lake 9, Avon 18. Fouled out: Torbert, Flynn.
Junior varsity: Avon, 44-27.