AVON - Missing Katie Maloney, a 5-foot-11 post and forward who has a hand fracture, Avon`s girls went looking for an effective replacement Monday.
They found Katie Dent and liked what they saw.
Dent, who`s also 5-11, scored a career-high 18 points, as the Eagles pulled away from Clearview for a 45-37 non-conference win. Dent, playing strong in the paint at both ends, was also a pillar on the backboards as Avon (1-2) won a lopsided rebounding battle, 44-28.
"(Ali) Haldi and I work well together and I knew we had to step it up since Katie (Maloney) was out - especially down in the post," Dent said.
Which she and the Eagles did, and, according to Haldi, the team`s senior scoring leader, Dent knew she`d have to have a big game.
"Right in the locker room, coach (Al Mielcarek) said it straight to her, â€˜This game will count on you, Katie Dent,`" Haldi said.
"She was, wow, as a point guard to be able to feed her hard passes and have her grab them and just put it in, I`m so happy with her."
Haldi contributed more than passes to the Avon offense. The 5-5 senior added 15 points, including the Eagles` two 3-point baskets. With that effort, she moved within 18 points of the school`s career scoring record of 769.
"When (Maloney`s) in the game, we play a lot of two-man basketball," said Haldi. "Tonight, it was just five girls who had heart. We weren`t going to let this slip away from us after two losses (to Admiral King and North Olmsted). It was a different feel in the locker room. Everybody just had this feeling that tonight we`re going to get that first win on our home floor."
Meantime, Clearview (0-2) couldn`t get the offense going, although scoring leader Ariel Calhoun produced a team-high 15 points.
Mielcarek said his team was aware that the Clippers rely heavily on a slashing, penetrating offense, with Calhoun driving to the basket. The solution: a zone defense that cut down Calhoun`s opportunities and gave the Eagles position under the boards.
"We knew Calhoun is a great ball handler and she likes to go one-on-one," Mielcarek said. "We wanted to limit our man-to-man defense as much as possible, but she was still able to get 15 points on us tonight. It`s a tribute to her that even against a zone she was able to find gaps and do her thing."
The Avon defense was strong enough to limit the Clippers to less than 30 percent shooting and held them without a field goal for the last 9:42. Their last basket came with 1:42 left in the third quarter and cut the Eagles` margin to 36-31 heading into the fourth.
In fact, the Clippers went without a point the last 5:17 of the first half, during which time they were outscored 9-0. Fortunately for them, Sarah Scheithauer had already hit four field goals, including the team`s two 3-pointers, to finish the half with 10 points, the most on either team at the time.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," said Clearview coach Don Coller. "I don`t know what we shot from the line (it was 9-of-17), but it was pathetic; absolutely pathetic and that`s what`s killing us right now. We still had our opportunities, but give (Dent) credit, she had a heck of a ball game."
Avon 45, Clearview 37
CLEARVIEW (37): Mercedez Thompson 0-1-1, Sarah Scheithauer 4-0-10, Adriene Ward 0-0-0, Jody Zellers 0-0-0, Ariel Calhoun 5-5-15, Kristen Marcucci 0-0-0, Shayla Evans 1-0-2, Cybrenna Kimbrough 2-1-5, Gabby Suppa 0-0-0, Alex Wright 1-2-4. Totals 13-9-37.
AVON (45): Jamie Meiser 1-0-2, Ali Haldi 5-3-15, Nora Skotko 0-0-0, Erin Entinghe 1-0-2, Katie Dent 7-4-18, Morgan Schafer 0-2-2, Amanda Spiroff 0-0-0, Julia Monteleone 3-0-6, Loren Selestak 0-0-0, Hailey Hendricks 0-0-0. Totals 17-9-45.
Clearview Â Â Â 11Â Â Â 10Â Â Â 10Â Â Â 6Â Â Â - Â Â Â 37
AvonÂ Â Â 17Â Â Â 9Â Â Â 10Â Â Â 9Â Â Â - Â Â Â 45
Three-point goals: Clearview 2-15 (Scheithauer 2); Avon 2-10 (Haldi 2). Field goals: Clearview 13-47 (27.7 percent); Avon 17-52 (32.7 percent). Free throws: Clearview 9-17; Avon 9-18. Rebounds: Clearview 28; Avon 46. Turnovers: Clearview 17; Avon 19.
Junior varsity: Avon, 29-20.