AVON — If three and D players are worth their weight in gold, Avon has a treasure chest.
The Eagles rode 11 3-pointers and a smothering defense to a 64-44 win over North Olmsted in a Division I sectional opener Wednesday. Avon, the fourth seed, will host Elyria at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the finals with the winner advancing to the Elyria district semifinals.
“We came out with a sense of urgency,” Avon coach Kevin Sapara said. “We treat the playoffs like I’m sure they did: Everyone is 0-0. Playing at home, we wanted to come out with a sense of urgency and I think we did that.”
North Olmsted (2-21) had one lead all night — 2-0. That was also the only field goal the Eagles made in the first quarter, going scoreless for the next eight minutes.
Avon’s defense didn’t allow another field goal for 13:35.
During that span, Dean Emerine, Jake Parker and Cole Warren provided plenty of firepower from 3-point range for Avon (16-7). The three combined for 10 of Avon’s 11 3-pointers, highlighted by a 5-for-6 night from Warren.
The junior had six points at the half, then connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to open the third and finished with a game-high 15 points. Emerine and Parker followed with 11 and eight points, respectively.
“I was feeling it,” Warren said. “We were moving the ball well, everyone was getting their touches. It was a fun time out there. They ran a zone, so we started cutting middle, looked opposite and that was there every time.”
North Olmsted couldn’t catch a break in the first half. A couple of solid looks from 3-point range rimmed out, most notably Sam Bring’s shot from a foot off the top of the arc late in the second quarter. The ball looked like it was going to swish right through, but swirled around twice before popping back out.
Avon held North Olmsted to 0-for-16 shooting and just six points until the Eagles ended the drought and caught Avon napping on the final two inbounds plays of the half — scoring with two long passes to Sean Elbin.
Still, North Olmsted trailed 39-14 at halftime and Avon eventually pushed its lead to 52-15, triggering a running clock once the margin exceeded 35 points. North Olmsted scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, but Avon had benched its starters for the entire period.
“We played some really good defense,” Sapara said. “That set the tone for the rest of the night. I’m really proud of the way these guys prepared on the floor and mentally for the playoffs the last couple of the days.”
Avon 64, North Olmsted 44
NORTH OLMSTED (44): Austin Murphy 1-2-4, Sean Elbin 6-1-13, Jared Strong 0-2-2, Sam Bring 2-0-6, Darren Andres 2-6-10, Thomas Cvijovic 0-2-2, Charbel Rabatt 0-0-0, Angel Roman 2-0-5, Jaeden Roman 1-0-2. Totals 14-13-44.
AVON (64): Jake Parker 3-0-8, Dean Emerine 4-0-11, Ronier Barrett-Reed 3-2-8, Cole Warren 5-0-15, Niko Pappas 2-2-6, Joey Lance 1-1-4, Brandon Doehne 0-2-2, Dominic Rini 1-0-2, Wynston Johnson 1-0-2, Alex Stamatis 2-0-4, Brody Sheaves 0-2-2. Totals 22-9-64.
North Olmsted 2 12 8 22 — 44
Avon 14 25 17 8 — 64
Three-point goals: North Olmsted 3-18 (Bring 2, Angel Roman), Avon 11-18 (Warren 5, Emerine 3, Parker 2, Lance). Field goals: North Olmsted 14-38 (37 percent), Avon 22-37 (60 percent). Free throws: North Olmsted 13-20 (65 percent), Avon 9-12 (75 percent). Rebounds: North Olmsted 21 (Andres 6, Elbin 6), Avon 15 (Barrett-Reed 3). Total fouls: North Olmsted 11, Avon 14. Turnovers: North Olmsted 13, Avon 11.