July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Girls basketball: Avon holds off Elyria Catholic comeback, holds on to stay alive in West Shore Conference race

Elyria Catholic's Riley Schill is guarded by Avon's Sierra Davidson, front, and Sarah Sprecher. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Elyria Catholic’s Riley Schill is guarded by Avon’s Sierra Davidson, front, and Sarah Sprecher. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Elyria Catholic scored more points in the fourth quarter Monday night than it did in the first three quarters combined.

The result was predictable, a West Shore Conference loss to Avon, which remains alive in the conference race. The Eagles trail Lakewood by two games with two to play.

Monday’s score was 38-33, which does not tell the story of the Panthers’ furious comeback in the final eight minutes.

Fueled by Riley Schill’s eight-point fourth quarter — which included 4-of-5 foul shooting — they engineered a 14-4 run that consumed four minutes.

In that time, they cut the deficit to 31-29, and with more than 2:30 left, were still in it at 33-31.

But the Eagles (13-6, 9-3) added five free throws, including three by Sierra Davidson, to put it out of reach.

It was not a game of enduring artistic merit.

The teams combined for 38 turnovers, 21 by the Panthers, and neither team made 30 percent of its field-goal attempts. And neither team put up a double-digit quarter until the fourth.

“Basketball’s a game of four quarters and if you only play one, you’re not going to win a lot of games against good teams,” said EC coach Eric Rothgery, whose team dropped to 14-4, 8-4. “We brought the fight to them one out of four quarters and if we had done that (every quarter), we’d have been in good shape.”

Avon built its advantage to 29-17 in the first two minutes of the final quarter, then the Panthers found the spark they had been missing. Julia Scarpelli sandwiched two baskets around a Schill free throw, Jessie Lee scored from close range and Schill — fouled shooting a 3-point shot — made all three foul shots to make it 31-29.

After Schill’s basket from the left side cut the Panthers’ deficit to 33-31, Avon made a turnover with 2:27 left. But EC couldn’t cash in on a pair of foul shots with 2:15 to go, which marked the beginning of the end.

Avon got a game-high 15 points from Brianna Conroy, nearly twice her average. Schill led EC with 11 points, 10 in the second half.

“We kept our composure and just played our game,” Conroy said of withstanding the Panthers’ run. “We calmed down at the end and were able to execute and win. It’s a really fun game when it’s close like that.”

“That was a very exciting game,” Eagles coach Meghan Larrick said. “Both teams played hard, there were different runs. We played timid and still had the lead, so we needed to grow as a young team and realize that in situations like that, we need to still be aggressive and still need to execute and control the tempo.”

Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or basketball@bobdaniels.info.

Avon 38, Elyria Catholic 33

AVON (38): Payton Mitchell 0-0-0, Alyssa Douzos 2-3-7, Sierra Davidson 0-3-3, Allie Bjorn 2-1-5, Rachel Poling 0-0-0, Catie Kelly 0-0-0, Sarah Sprecher 1-1-3, Brianna Conroy 6-3-15, Mackenzie Meckes 1-3-5. Totals 12-14-38.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (33): Julie Scarpelli 2-0-4, Josie Carandang 1-2-5, Rachel Cairns 0-1-1, Riley Schill 3-5-11, Nora Hopkins 0-0-0, Becky Horvath 2-0-4, Jessie Lee 4-0-8. Totals 12-8-33.
Avon 9 8 8 13 — 38
Elyria Catholic 6 6 3 18 — 33
Three-point goals: Avon 0-5, Elyria Catholic 1-5 (Carandang). Field goals: Avon 12-45 (26.7 percent), Elyria Catholic 12-55 (21.8 percent). Free throws: Avon 14-21, Elyria Catholic 8-15. Rebounds: Avon 41, Elyria Catholic 42. Turnovers: Avon 17, Elyria Catholic 21. Technical foul: Lee.
Junior varsity: Avon, 27-19