AVON — If Avon could bottle whatever it had in the second period and save it for just the right time, the Eagles might never lose.
Avon scored only five points in the first quarter of Friday’s West Shore Conference game against Vermilion, then kicked down the door in the second period with 35 points in what eventually became a 79-69 victory.
The Eagles, after hitting only 2 of 13 field-goal attempts in the opening quarter, made 10 of 18 field-goal tries and were 13-of-19 from the free throw line. Avon (4-2, 2-1 WSC) pressured the Sailors into 13 turnovers in the second. Vermilion (4-1, 2-1 WSC) was also plagued by 10 fouls in that quarter.
Avon scored nine points in the final 46 seconds of the first half. Mike Carge scored 12 of his 17 points in the second quarter.
“They were a little bit tight to start off, but these guys’ character came through in the next quarter,” Avon coach Jim Baker said. “We just got on a roll.”
Six different Eagles scored in the second period. Vermilion’s 13 turnovers came after having just three in the first.
“We couldn’t get into our press because we were not scoring,” Baker said. “Once we hit a few shots, we could start playing offense with our defense.
I think that’s the way it will have to be for us all year. Vermilion’s a team with a lot weapons. They’re big and they’re very strong.”
“We had to play a couple of combinations in that period that we weren’t used to playing,” Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl said. “We panicked. We had six guys with two fouls in there and we went deeper into our bench than we wanted to go, and it backfired.”
Vermilion jumped to an 11-2 lead and was ahead by 12 at the end of the first quarter. It was still 23-12 when Avon turned on the jets for the last five minutes of the initial half and scored 28 points to grab a 40-28 lead by halftime.
The Sailors were held to one field goal over the last five minutes of the second quarter.
All that good work almost went for naught for the Eagles as Vermilion trimmed the lead to two points with 55 seconds remaining in the third. Avon answered with seven straight and went on a 13-4 lead to make it 66-55. The Sailors could get no nearer than a six-point margin the rest of the way as the Eagles went 8-for-10 from the foul line when the game was still undecided.
Avon made 24 of 61 field-goal attempts and was 28-of-40 at the line. Vermilion was 25-of-62 from the field and 15-of-31 from the line.
Derek Hoebing paced the Sailors with 19 points and nine rebounds. Kyle Gregory joined Carge with 17 points for Avon and led the Eagles with six assists.
Avon 79, Vermilion 69
VERMILION (69): Andy Pena 2-1-5, Matt Liljegren 1-3-5, Tim Clark 5-0-10, Nick Farley 5-4-16, Derek Hoebing 8-3-19, Justin Turner 1-1-3, Derek Barbato 1-2-4, Mike Virgin 0-1-1, Kyle Herchler 2-0-6, Kurt Innes 0-0-0, Paul Kishman 0-0-0, Dustin Hendricks 0-0-0. Totals: 25-15-69.
AVON (79): Kyle Gregory 4-9-17, Marquis Harrell 4-7-15, Mike Carge 6-3-17, Steve Isaac 4-3-11, Andrew Wimmer 2-0-4, Garrett Gronowski 1-2-4, Matt Logan 1-0-2, Ryan O’Rourke 1-4-7, John Harrison 1-0-2. Totals: 24-28-79.
Vermilion 17 11 23 18 – 69
Avon 5 35 15 24 – 79
Three-point goals: Vermilion 4 (Farley 2, Herchler 2), Avon 3 (Carge 2, O’Rourke). Rebounds: Vermilion 41 (Hoebing 9), Avon 34 (Carge 7). Turnovers: Vermilion 23, Avon 18. Total fouls: Vermilion 31, Avon 28. Fouled out: Wimmer, Hoebing.
Junior varsity: Vermilion 61, Avon 51.