AVON — Elyria Catholic coach Eric Rothgery is convinced.
“Bottom line … Avon was the best team in the conference before the season started, and they’re still the best team in the conference now,” he said. “They’re a really good team.”
Avon was actually quite convincing Wednesday night. The Eagles jumped on the Panthers early and, after Elyria Catholic came back, switched up defenses and pulled away for a 51-31 West Shore Conference girls basketball victory.
The Eagles (3-2, 2-1) switched to a 2-3 zone to open the second half and it sparked an 11-2 run that put the game out of reach for the previously undefeated Panthers (6-1, 2-1).
Avon used a balanced attack to win its second conference game. Eight Eagles scored, led by Mackenzie Meckes’ 13 points.
“I was going to the basket and my shot was falling tonight,” Meckes said. “We prepared all week in practice and were really looking forward to this game. We know they’re a good team and really wanted to get the win.”
Avon led just 23-22 after Becky Horvath hit a pair of free throws for the Panthers, but Avon scored the final six points of the half to take a 29-22 lead at intermission.
Then, in the third quarter, the Eagles opened in the zone and took control.
“We went into a 2-3 (zone) out of bounds and got stops twice in a row, so we figured we might as well go with what was working,” Eagles coach Meghan Larrick said.
“We stuck to that 2-3 zone and felt like we were able to get stops defensively, which led to the offensive side. Then we were able to execute offensively as well.”
EC sophomore Riley Schill scored a game-high 16 points, but the rest of the Panthers were held to just 15 points on 4-of-29 shooting.
With backcourt running mate Josie Carandang out until mid-January with a back injury, Rothgery is looking for a second scorer.
“It wasn’t there tonight, and (Schill) can’t do it by herself,” he said. “Too many times when she was getting to the basket nobody was getting back, and they were scoring easy baskets in transition. But she gave it her all.”
Larrick thought the zone was effective in keeping Schill in check.
“Schill is an excellent basketball player and she was a big part of our preparation for this game,” Larrick said. “We wanted to focus on not allowing her to get hot and to score. We started the game in man and she had a few quick buckets. When that 2-3 worked we were going to stick with it until they were able to take advantage of it.”
Rothgery is hoping his team has a short memory.
“We couldn’t get the ball inside, and they scored,” he said. “They beat us down the floor a lot and outplayed us. It was a good game. We’ll come back, pick up the pieces and be ready to play.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Avon 51, Elyria Catholic 31
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (31): Riley Schill 5-4-16, Julia Scarpelli 1-1-3, Margot Novak 0-0-0, Becky Horvath
0-5-5, Jessie Lee 3-1-7, Nora Hopkins 0-0-0, Sam Filiaggi 0-0-0, Meredith Ternes, 0-0-0, Natalie Tremont 0-0-0, Adrianna Davies 0-0-0, Maddy Johnson 0-0-0. Totals 9-11-31.
AVON (51): Alyssa Douzos 4-2-10, Sierra Davidson 4-0-8, Allie Bjorn 1-3-5, Brianna Conroy 2-0-4, Mackenzie Meckes 3-5-13, Payton Mitchell 1-0-2, Sarah Sprecher 1-1-3, Jessica Yurkovich 0-0-0, Rachael Polling 0-0-0, Regan Betts 2-2-6, Zanny Sauter 0-0-0. Totals 18-13-51.
Elyria Catholic 9 13 4 5 — 31
Avon 12 17 13 9 — 51
Three-point goals: Elyria Catholic 2-12 (Schill 2), Avon
2-8 (Meckes 2); Field goals: Elyria Catholic 9-43
(20.9 percent), Avon 18-42 (42.8 percent); Free throws: Elyria Catholic 11-19 (57.8 percent), Avon 13-21
(61.9 percent); Rebounds: Elyria Catholic 35 (Lee 10), Avon 40 (Meckes 6). Turnovers: Elyria Catholic 17, Avon 20. Total fouls: Elyria Catholic 12, Avon 17.
Junior varsity: Avon, 70-23