THOMAS FETCENKO / CHRONICLE Avon High School's Niko Pappas (3) eyes up a shot as Midview High School's Andrew Gooch (12) and Isiah Johnson (2) guard him on Friday night, February 1.
AVON — Offense was at a premium Friday night as Avon and Midview combined for just 14 field goals in the first half.
But Avon’s offense woke up a bit in the second half and that, coupled with a strong defensive effort, was enough to get the Eagles a hard-fought 50-45 Southwestern Conference win.
Dean Emerine and Jake Parker came up with huge fourth-quarter baskets for Avon, which improved to 11-5, 8-5 in the SWC.
“It’s really great to know my teammates have the confidence in me to take big shots,” Emerine said. “We got some big stops on defense, then my teammates found me for good looks.”
It was a grind-it-out win. Midview (9-7, 8-5) led almost all of the third quarter and the Eagles were never able to get into any kind of offensive rhythm. But Avon’s defense came alive when it mattered most, forcing five turnovers in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Eagles went on a 9-2 run during that time, capped by a Jake Parker jumper and 3-pointer to take their biggest lead at 45-39.
“My teammates just kept looking for me and I was able to hit them when they mattered,” Parker said. “We played one of our best defensive games of the year and it set the tone for us.”
Parker went on to put the nail in the coffin with another big 3-pointer with under two minutes remaining.
Midview pulled within 45-42 with two minutes remaining before Parker nailed a three from the corner to put the Eagles up 48-42.
That cushion was more than enough to preserve the victory with the way Avon’s defense was playing.
“I didn’t start the game as well as I wanted to so it was nice to finish strong,” Parker said.
The Middies looked as if they might gain some separation after a Dane Reichard layup put them up 37-33 with under 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter. But Emerine hit a huge 3-pointer at the buzzer then opened the fourth quarter with a quick rebound and jumper.
Just that quickly, the Eagles were on top 38-37.
“I was actually looking to move the ball but I was left open on both shots so I just took them,” Emerine said.
Avon didn’t make a field goal until the 2:45 mark of the first quarter when sophomore Dominic Rini came off the bench to break the drought with a putback. Luckily for the Eagles, Midview wasn’t doing much better, making just one field goal meaning Rini’s basket actually tied the game at 3.
There were nine lead changes in the first half and neither team led by more than four points. Midview was up 21-20 at the break.
“I thought we did a good job of limiting them when they were on the offensive end,” Avon coach Kevin Sapara said. “We had some guys really step us for us and I’m proud of them.”
Both teams shot well from the outside as Avon was 10-of-20 from 3-point range and the Middies were 5-of-11.
Parker led the way for Avon, knocking down four threes en route to a game-high 15 points. Midview’s Jonny Manning had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“I thought we did some good things but there were a lot of wasted possessions on offense,” Midview coach Jim Brabenec said. “Give Avon credit, they just flat out made more plays than we did.”
Paul Williams at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Avon 50, Midview 45
MIDVIEW (45): Isiah Johnson 2-0-4, Nyco Vidal 1-0-3, Andrew Gooch 2-0-4, Dane Reichard 4-0-10, Marcell Young 3-2-10, Jonny Manning 5-4-14, Jesse Franklin 0-0-0. Totals 17-6-45.
AVON (50): Niko Pappas 3-1-9, Cole Warren 3-2-11, Jake Parker 5-1-15, Wynston Johnson 1-0-2, Brody Sheaves 0-0-0, Dean Emerine 3-0-7, Dominic Rini 3-0-6, Joey Lance 0-0-0. Totals 18-4-50.
Midview 10 11 16 8 — 45
Avon 7 13 16 14 — 50
Three point goals: Midview 5-11 (Vidal, Reichard 2, Young 2), Avon 10-20 (Pappas 2, Warren 3, Emerine, Parker 4). Free throws: Midview 6-12 (50 percent), Avon 4-6 (66 percent). Total fouls: Midview 12, Avon 10. Turnovers: Midview 13, Avon 11.
Junior varsity: Avon, 41-40