AVON LAKE — With a third-quarter run, Avon Lake created some breathing room in a close non-conference game with Clearview on Wednesday night.
Then with success in what became a foul-shooting exhibition, the Shoregals pulled away in the fourth quarter for a
Avon Lake shot no free throws in the first half. But the Shoregals made 15 of 24 in the second half, including 10 of 14 over the final eight minutes. Sophomore guard Ali Balthaser and senior guard Anelise Kollias made three foul shots each in the fourth quarter. Balthaser finished with a game-high 10 points and Kollias scored nine.
Meantime, Avon Lake did an effective defensive job on Clearview’s senior scoring leader Desiree Ray. She and sophomore guard Angel Blakely each scored nine points.
“We changed up our defenses,” Shoregals coach Dave Zvara said. “We did a little half-court trap on them and changed our half-court defense. I thought we were a little sluggish and that kind of got us going. Our best offense is steals.”
It was just the second win in 16 games for the Shoregals. But Zvara said the win gave the game a special feeling.
“Right now, it feels like we’re 16-0,” Zvara said.
The teams each put up single-digit scores in the first and second quarters and Avon Lake held a 14-13 lead at the break.
But in the third quarter, the Shoregals engineered a 9-2 run in the final 2:31 for a 28-21 lead going into the last eight minutes. In the period, Balthaser nailed the team’s only 3-pointer of the night and later hit from the right side during its quarter-ending run.
“We worked hard for this game,” Balthaser said. “We’ve been working on our ‘elbow’ play, which is what we ran most tonight. Also, we knew they were going to be really physical, so we practiced hard on each other to get ready for the game.”
The game was not one of lasting artistic merit. Neither team made more than 27 percent of its field-goal attempts, and while Avon Lake short nearly 75 percent from the foul line in the fourth quarter, the Clippers (11-4) were just 11-of-21 from the line for the night. The teams also produced a combined 49 turnovers.
Clearview coach Nick Dimacchia said he thought the Clippers were distracted or not focused.
“It was like we weren’t even here,” he said. “We were throwing passes across court that we don’t normally throw. We just weren’t even in the game and I’m not taking anything away from Avon Lake. They made free throws like they should, but we held them to five field goals the second half.”
Avon Lake 40, Clearview 29
CLEARVIEW (29): MacKenzie Mielcarek 0-1-1, Katlynne Baker 0-1-1, Sydney Wright 3-1-7, Desiree Ray 4-1-9, Tahjanae Flowers-Coleman 0-0-0, Raquel Santana 0-2-2, Angel Blakely 2-5-9. Totals 9-11-29.
AVON LAKE (40): Ali Balthaser 3-3-10, Kay Butrey 1-3-5, Anelise Kollias 3-3-9, Logan LeDuc 1-2-4, Marissa Gerrone 0-0-0, Maggie Heschel 0-0-0, Molly Disbrow 0-4-4, Emily Nicholas 4-0-8. Totals 12-15-40.
Clearview 5 8 8 8 – 29
Avon Lake 8 6 14 12 – 40
Three-point goals: Clearview 0-4; Avon Lake 1-5 (Balthaser). Field goals: Clearview 9-44 (20.5 percent); Avon Lake 12-45 (26.7 percent). Free throws: Clearview 11-27; Avon Lake 15-24. Rebounds: Clearview 35; Avon Lake 36. Turnovers: Clearview 26; Avon Lake 23.
Junior varsity: Avon Lake, 39-9.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.