AMHERST — After 12 ties and seven lead changes, Avon’s Brianna Conroy took matters into her own hands. The 6-foot junior scored on a putback layup with 21.2 seconds to go to put Avon on top and the Eagles held on for a 54-52 win over Elyria in the opening game of the Comet Holiday Tournament.
Amherst defeated defending champion Sandusky Perkins 41-32 in the second game, setting up an all-Lorain County final tonight at 7:30.
Elyria (4-7) took a 32-26 lead in the third quarter, only to see Avon’s Sierra Davidson score six straight points to tie the game with 1:42 to play in the period. From that point, neither team would lead by more than three points until Avon (6-3) had a brief 54-50 lead as the final seconds were counting down.
“I told the girls we can’t keep it that close,” Avon coach Meghan Larrick said. “We’ve got to execute and extend leads, not trade baskets shot for shot. Every team has its ups and downs, but we need to be more consistent through the game.”
The game was tied at 47 with 49.4 left to play when Elyria was called for a pair of technical fouls, one called on Sierra White and another on Pioneers coach Brian Arth when he tried to question the official in regards to what White said to draw the first technical.
Mackenzie Meckes made three of four free throws to put Avon up 50-47.
Meckes led Avon with 17 points, Elyria junior Sybil Roseboro was the game’s top scorer with 19.
“We came out more aggressive in the second because we knew we had to win,” Meckes said. “We wanted the chance to play in the championship game so everyone in the locker room was excited to get the win tonight.”
Shayla Middlebrooks was the only other player in double figures with 14 points for the Pioneers, including a 3-pointer with 42 seconds to play that tied the game at 50.
Amherst came into its home tournament with a deceptive 2-5 record after early season loses to Westlake, Berea-Midpark and Olmsted Falls, so the Comets came into Friday’s game looking for both a boost of self confidence and a ticket to the final.
“I’m so happy that we’re getting our confidence back because nobody believed in us going into tonight,” said Amherst’s Brooke Wallace. “It means a lot to be in the championship game. Our record doesn’t show it but we are a good team. Avon’s a good team, too, so (tonight) is going to be a struggle for both of us.”
Wallace scored Amherst’s first seven points and led all scorers with 11 points to go along with seven rebounds. Gabrielle Basinski led her team with 10 rebounds.
Perkins (3-5) fought back from an 11-point first-half deficit to tie the game at 15 early in the third quarter only to see the Comets go on a 15-7 run. The Pirates never led in the game.
Despite only scoring 41 points, Amherst managed to get eight players into the scoring column.
“All year we’ve talked about the need for players other than Brooke to step up and score and we finally did it,” Amherst coach Kevin Collins said. “Everybody was patient and unselfish, looking for the open girl and that allowed us to knock down some easy shots.”
The Pirates were held to just nine field goals by a stingy Comets defense. Junior Emily Wagner was Perkins’ top scorer with nine points.
Both teams spent most of the fourth quarter at the free throw line with mixed success. Amherst shot under 50 percent from the free throw line (10-of-21), while the Pirates scored eight of their final 10 points on foul shots.
Elyria will play Perkins in the consolation game today at 6 p.m.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avon 54, Elyria 52
AVON (54): Jessica Yurkovich 3-0-7, Alyssa Douzos 2-0-4, Sierra Davidson 4-5-13, Rachael Poling 2-0-4, Sarah Sprecher 1-0-2, Brianna Conroy 3-1-7, Mackenzie Meckes 3-11-17. Totals 18-17-54.
ELYRIA (52): Sybil Roseboro 6-5-19, Shayla Middlebrooks 5-2-14, CiCi McIntosh 3-0-7, Samantha Harjar 1-0-2, Sierra White 3-2-8, Mariah Johnson 1-0-2. Totals 19-9-52.
Avon 6 15 15 18 — 54
Elyria 10 8 16 18 — 52
Three-point goals: Avon (Yurkovich); Elyria (Roseboro 2, Middlebrooks 2, McIntosh). Field goals: Avon 18-59 (31 percent), Elyria 19-56 (34 percent); Free throws: Avon 17-22 (77 percent), Elyria 9-11 (82 percent); Rebounds: Avon 41, Elyria 42; Turnovers: Avon 18, Elyria 21; Total fouls: Avon 9, Elyria 18. Technical Fouls: White, Elyria coach Arth.
Amherst 41, Perkins 32
PERKINS (32): Hallee Smith 0-7-7, Angela Baumgardener 1-0-2, Ariana Burrows 3-0-7, Abbey Seeholzer 1-5-7, Emily Wagner 4-0-9. Totals 9-12-32.
AMHERST (41): Sher Champe 1-0-3, Abby Turnwald 2-0-4, Sydney Roule 1-0-2, Mallory Sliman 3-1-7, Sara Elliott 2-3-9, Sydney Click 0-1-1, Brooke Wallace 4-3-11, Natalia Joseph 2-0-4. Totals 15-10-41.
Perkins 4 9 9 10 — 32
Amherst 9 6 11 15 — 41
Three-point goals: Perkins (Burrows, Wagner); Amherst (Champe). Field goals: Perkins 9-33 (27 percent), Amherst 15-42 (36 percent); Free throws: Perkins 12-19 (63 percent), Amherst 10-21 (48 percent); Rebounds: Perkins 22, Amherst 29; Turnovers: Perkins 23, Amherst 16; Total fouls: Perkins 20, Amherst 19.