AMHERST — Senior Mary Jones scored 10 points in each half Thursday night to lead Elyria past Avon 58-44 in the opening game of Amherst’s annual Comets Holiday Tournament.
Her points, however, were only part of Jones’ contribution as the Pioneers improved to 5-4 on the season.
Junior Alexis Middlebrooks finished with 18 points, mostly from close range, and more than a few resulted from assists by Jones.
For their efforts, the Pioneers will play Sandusky Perkins for the tourney championship at 7:30 tonight. The Pirates defeated Amherst 41-28 in Thursday’s second game.
“Mary has played two exceptional games, and not just points,” Elyria coach Mike Walsh said of Jones’ work. “It was also her play-making. I mean, she gave Middlebrooks about half of her points. She’s a four-year starter and she’s starting to realize when you have an open shot take it. When you don’t, draw double teams and find the open person.
Assists, Jones said, are simply part of her and the team’s overall philosophy.
“I’m all about teamwork,” she said. “It always takes five to win a game and that’s what I’m all about. Teamwork and helping each other out and cheer each other on — that’s what I enjoy about playing with this team. I love playing with this team. There’s no other team I would rather play with.”
Burned by the host Comets after leading in last year’s tourney opener, the Pioneers had strong incentive to win this year’s.
The Pioneers fell behind 6-4, then caught up and took a 10-8 lead. But when the Eagles earned a 10-10 tie with 2:30 left in the quarter, it seemed only to arouse the Elyria offense. The Pioneers went on a 15-0 run that carried into the second period and put them in control.
Middlebrooks and Jocelyn Spraggins each scored four points, Sybil Roseboro drilled a 3-pointer and Jones and Alexis Roseboro had a basket apiece. Elyria held a 36-19 lead at the break.
“We just wanted to come out strong and win, sort of revenge for last year,” senior Alexis Roseboro said. “We were beating them (Amherst) last year but we lost. At halftime, coach talked about how well we were doing and how we were making more passes.”
The Pioneers opened the lead to 50-31 after three quarters, and that set a fire under Avon. Counting their final basket of the third period, the Eagles engineered an 11-1 rally that carried into the fourth quarter and kept them in the hunt, trailing just 51-40.
Jessica Yurkovich’s four points spearheaded the run. Sierra Davidson, Allie Bjorn and Catie Kelly scored two points each and Brianna Conroy added a foul shot. But the Eagles added just four more points during the final 4:30 of the game.
“I think we were playing more not to lose instead of trying to put the dagger in,” Walsh said of Avon’s comeback. “We needed to keep attacking, but it was like we were our own worst enemy. Hopefully, we learned from it. We made enough plays down the stretch and still hung on.”
Elyria 58, Avon 44
AVON (44): Payton Mitchell 1-0-2, Sierra Davidson 4-0-8, Jessica Yurkovich 4-0-9, Kaitlin Neumann 0-0-0, Tina Petriollo 2-0-4, Catie Kelly 0-4-4, Brianna Control 3-1-7, Allie Bjorn 4-2-10. Totals: 18-7-44.
ELYRIA (58): Sybil Roseboro 1-0-3, Mikayla Christian 0-0-0, Shayla Middlebrooks 2-2-6, Mary Jones 7-5-20, Jocelyn Spraggins 2-2-6, Alexis Roseboro 1-1-3, Alexis Middlebrooks 9-0-18, Sierra White 0-0-0, Mariah Johnson 1-0-2. Totals: 23-10-58.
Avon 10 9 12 13 — 44
Elyria 21 15 14 8 — 58
Three-point goals: Avon 1-6 (Yurkovich), Elyria 2-4 (S. Roseboro, Jones). Field goals: Avon 18-48 (37.5 percent), Elyria 23-56 (41.1 percent). Free throws: Avon 7-12, Elyria 10-16. Rebounds: Avon 31, Elyria 31. Turnovers: Avon 30, Elyria 19.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.