VERMILION — The Sailors kept throwing jabs and the Eagles kept answering with haymakers. In the end, Avon had to hold on to win on points.
The Eagles used a dominant first half to forge a 20-point lead before Vermilion stormed back with a late surge that fell five points short in a 52-47 Avon victory.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Avon coach Jen Larrick said. “We’re going to go back to practice tomorrow and get ready for Midview on Saturday.”
The Eagles (8-4, 5-1 West Shore Conference) seemed to have things firmly under control in the first 12 minutes of play. They closed the first quarter on a 13-1 run to take a 19-6 lead into the second, then used a 15-6 run early in the second quarter to take their biggest lead of the game.
Brianna Conroy hit the only 3-pointer of the game at the 4:26 mark of the second to give Avon a 34-14 lead.
Vermilion (6-5, 3-3) scored nine of the final 13 points of the half, but still trailed, 38-23.
Sierra Davidson, Avon’s 6-foot-1 senior center, was unstoppable in the first half. She scored 15 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots before the half to help the Eagles run out to the big lead.
In the second half, Vermilion senior guard Hanna Bartlome got hot. She scored eight points in the third quarter to cut the Sailors deficit to 13 at 46-43, then added seven in the fourth. Vermilion cut the Avon lead to six points, 50-44, on a pair of Ali Kowal free throws with 1:58 left in the game, but could not convert when it counted most.
Three times Vermilion had the ball, down six, with the chance to pull closer. Three times they turned it over.
Alyssa Douzos hit a pair of free throws before Kowal scored in the final five seconds of the game to account for the final score.
Davidson ended the game with 24 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks while Douzos had nine points and seven steals for Avon.
“Sierra played a great basketball game tonight,” Larrick said. “She played physical, she played strong, she was crashing the boards offensively and defensively. We’ve been talking to her, these past few weeks, about getting the scrap points. When your guards are shooting outside shots there are going to be rebounds. Get that rebound and finish it.”
Vermilion coach Colin Irish was pleased with how his team rallied in the second half.
“I’m really proud of how the girls fought back,” he said. “If we make our layups and free throws, who knows what the outcome was. With our team we have to scrap and do the little things well. We did that for the better part of two and a half quarters. The other quarter and a half, not so well.”
Bartlome paced the Sailors with 20 points while Kowal added 15.
Davidson said her team remains in search of a signature win.
“We’re halfway through our season and still looking for that game to turn the corner,” she said. “We’re 8-4 now and need that one game that’s going to propel us…turn our season around. We’re having a great season and we’re almost there, but we need that moment that will define us as a basketball team.”
Avon 52, Vermilion 47
AVON (52): Alyssa Douzos 3-3-9, Payton Mitchell 1-0-2, Sierra Davidson 10-4-24, Brianna Conroy 2-0-5, Mackenzie Meckes 0-4-4, Jessica Yurkovich 0-0-0, Allie Bjorn 1-1-3, Sarah Sprecher 1-1-3, Rachael Polling 0-0-0, Catie Kelly 1-0-2, Regan Betts 0-0-0. Totals 19-13-52.
VERMILION (47): Hannah Bartlome 9-2-20, Caitlyn Schnur 1-1-3, Jasmine Porter 2-1-5, Jen Kovarik 0-0-0, Ali Kowal 4-7-15, Sarah Bartlome 1-0-2, Jessica Burger 0-0-0, Casey Ramos 0-0-0. Totals 17-11-47.
Avon 19 19 8 6 — 52
Vermilion 6 17 10 14 — 47
Three-point goals: Avon 1-10 (Conroy), Vermilion 0-5. Field goals: Avon 19-46 (41.3 percent), Vermilion 17-45 (37.7 percent); Free throws: Avon 13-20 (65 percent), Vermilion 11-21 (52.3 percent); Rebounds: Avon 36 (Davidson 16), Vermilion 23 (Schnur 8). Turnovers: Avon 24, Vermilion 18. Total fouls: Avon 19, Vermilion 13. Fouled out: None.