ELYRIA TWP. — On a night Open Door and Avon remembered Tedd Wiley and Ron Thomas, two friends of both programs, they played a memorable game.
Dean Emerine hit two big shots down the stretch as Avon overcame a big game from Trey Brooks to claim a 65-61 non-conference win.
Emerine scored seven points in the game’s final 1:58. He cut a late Open Door lead to 59-58 with a short jumper from the left wing.
After an offensive foul on the Patriots’ Carter Wright gave Avon the ball back with 1:54 left, Emerine drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Eagles a 61-59 lead.
On that possession, the Eagles ran over a minute off the clock before Dominic Rini found Emerine running off a screen for an open shot from beyond the arc.
It hit nothing but net.
“Dean was huge,” Avon coach Kevin Sapara said.
“We know Dean can play and he wanted the ball, wanted his number called. We went with him, trusted him, and I’m really proud of Dean because this was a nice, breakout game for him.”
Emerine, who led Avon with 23 points, said the Eagles were patient enough to get the best shot in a big situation.
“We look for the open shot and any one of us can hit those shots,” he said. “We were all ready for it. It just happened to be me. We were looking for a good shot, nothing forced, and if it took awhile it took awhile.
“We just wanted a good shot at that point because that was a big moment in the game.”
Patriots coach Todd Wright gave Avon credit for its patience and execution.
“They’re extremely patient and they don’t take bad shots, generally,” Wright said of the Eagles (4-0). “They didn’t take a lot of bad shots tonight. Our kids played really good defense for a long time on a long possession. We got caught up on one screen behind a shooter, and that’s what happens.”
With 3:09 left in the fourth quarter the Eagles led 56-51. The Patriots (1-2) scored the next eight points in under a minute, taking a 59-56 lead on a Jared Bublinec 3-pointer from the top of the key.
That’s when Emerine took over.
“We knew we were going to get their best shot tonight and that’s a good team,” Sapara said. “We knew it was going to be a tough test and I was proud of our guys for just finding a way.”
The game, called the Wiley Strong Benefit Classic, was the first meeting between the schools. The teams warmed up in shirts honoring Wiley and Thomas, both of whom died recently of cancer. Wiley, who coached Open Door’s eighth-grade basketball team and Avon’s ninth-grade team, died in January. Thomas, the Patriots’ longtime scorekeeper, died in March.
“We talked a lot, before the game, about the meaning of tonight,” Wright said. “I appreciate how hard they worked. Obviously we would have liked things to go differently at the very end, but I thought my guys played hard through the tiredness and gave them our best shot.”
Brooks kept Open Door in the game with a huge first half. He scored 17 of his game-high 28 points in the first two quarters.
Brooks also led both teams with 10 rebounds.
“It was awesome to come out here and compete with both teams playing at a high level,” Wright said. “The crowd was into it, they were screaming whenever we hit anything and this was just a great feeling.”
Avon 65, Open Door 61
AVON (65): Jake Parker 5-2-12, Dean Emerine 7-5-23, Dominic Rini 3-2-8, Ronier Barrett-Reed 1-0-2, Cole Warren 3-0-9, Brandon Doehne 3-1-7, Ryan Maloy 1-2-4. Totals 23-12-65.
OPEN DOOR (61): Trey Brooks 11-0-28, Carter Wright 4-3-12, Jared Bublinec 3-1-9, Miles Hunt 2-2-6, Gavin Dobbins 0-3-3, Mason Wiley 1-0-3. Totals 21-9-61.
Avon 18 12 15 20 — 65
Open Door 9 17 16 19 — 61
Three-point goals: Avon 7-14 (Emerine 4, Warren 3), Open Door 10-25 (Brooks 6, Bublinec 2, Wright, Wiley). Field goals: Avon 23-46 (50 percent), Open Door 21-48 (43.7 percent). Free throws: Avon 12-16 (75 percent), Open Door 9-18 (50 percent). Rebounds: Avon 28 (Berrett-Reed 5), Open Door 25 (Brooks 10). Turnovers: Avon 17, Open Door 18. Total fouls: Avon 11, Open Door 16.
Junior varsity: Avon, 78-15