AVON LAKE — Avon Lake unveiled a smothering defense that directly aided an 18-0 run over the middle quarters as the Shoremen held off a late North Ridgeville rally for a 54-42 non-conference win Tuesday night.
Avon Lake’s Seth Muck and Brad Hamilton were they only two Shoremen to hit double figures scoring 14 and 10, respectively, and both also played a big part in the run that turned 20-18 advantage following a lay-in by North Ridgeville’s Demario McCall to 38-18 lead midway through the third quarter.
“In the second and third quarters we were able to pressure and really defend with our back-end defense,” said Shoremen (1-0) coach Eric Smith. “We can pressure all we want, but you still have to be able to defend in the half-court.”
Avon Lake had three steals in the final 3:06 of the first half and converted each into points. Jason Hessel knocked down a pair of free throws, Hamilton scored the next two baskets and Muck scored on a putback for a 28-18 halftime lead.
“We lost some good players from last year, but we have reloaded and can come at you from a lot of different directions with so many different players this year,” said Muck. “We really put things together in the second and third quarter.”
The second half started with the Rangers (1-1) unable to break the Avon Lake pressure with only two shot attempts from the floor in the first four minutes as the Shoremen scored the next ten points to build the 20-point lead.
Muck knocked down a mid-range jumper, Hamilton scored on a pair of layins and junior Luke Harris scored four of his eight points.
North Ridgeville’s Tyler Rowe finally broke through for the Rangers when he corralled a loose-ball rebound and knocked down a 3-pointer to end a 7:19 scoring drought.
Chad Kisel followed with another triple for North Ridgeville, but it could only cut the lead to 45-28 going to the final eight minutes of play.
“The turnovers killed us tonight and a lot seemed to come from guys not ready to handle the pressure,” said North Ridgeville coach Bryan Morgan. “A lot of them were unforced errors and a lot of them resulted in points for them.”
Morgan hit that on the nose as Avon Lake converted the Ranger miscues into 19 points.
The Shoremen lead sat at 17 at the 6:23 mark of the fourth quarter when Avon Lake “lost their mind” according to coach Smith and turned the ball over seven times in the next five minutes to aid a 12-1 run for the Rangers.
Nolan Freeman scored two of his 10 points to start the run, McCall scored in transition for two points and Dennis Millgard added a pair of three-point plays to cut the Avon Lake lead to 48-42 with 1:24 left in the game.
North Ridgeville wouldn’t score again as Muck hit 4-of-6 free throws and Quinn Cantleberry scored a late bucket to provide the final margin of victory for Avon Lake.
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Avon Lake 54, North Ridgeville 42
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (42): Demario McCall 3-0-6, Chad Kisel 1-0-3, Tyler Rowe 1-0-3, Dennis Millgard 6-2-14, Jordan Montgomery 2-0-4, Tyler Arnold 1-0-2, Nolan Freeman 5-0-10 . Totals 19-2-42.
AVON LAKE (54): AJ Outcalt 1-0-3, Quinn Cantleberry 1-0-2, Jason Hessel 1-3-5, Luke Harris 3-1-8, Christian Jones 2-3-8, Jace Russell 0-1-1, Seth Muck 4-6-14, Brad Hamilton 4-2-10, Matt Molina 1-0-2, . Totals 17-17-54.
North Ridgeville 12 6 10 14 — 42
Avon Lake 12 16 17 9 — 54
Three-point goals: North Ridgeville 2-16 (Kisel, Rowe), Avon Lake 3-11 (Outcalt,Harris, Jones); Field goals: North Ridgeville 19-46 (41 percent); Avon Lake 17-44 (39 percent); Free throws: North Ridgeville 2-6 (33 percent); Avon Lake 17-29 (59 percent); Rebounds: North Ridgeville 29, Avon Lake 35; Turnovers: North Ridgeville 20; Avon Lake 19; Fouled Out: North Ridgeville: Millgard. JV: Avon Lake, 52-49.