By Jake Thompson
Hendricks County Flyer
AVON — After winning two contests earlier in the season against Plainfield, each by 24 points, the Avon boys’ basketball team entered sectional play on its home court feeling optimistic about its chances of advancement.
That optimism shone through as the Orioles took down the Quakers 64-48 Wednesday night.
“We played with some confidence tonight and we were up front with the kids,” Avon coach Jason Young said. “We beat (Plainfield) before earlier in the season and on a neutral floor in county. We felt like we were the better basketball team and felt like we needed to establish that early.”
Avon quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead as David Griffith hit a driving layup and Jack McCue buried a 3-pointer. The Orioles never looked back and led wire-to-wire.
“We tried to stay competitive,” Plainfield coach Andy Weaver said. “Probably the most disappointing thing was we gave up nine offensive rebounds in the first half and two or three baskets got tipped. We just weren’t physical enough to put a body on them.”
Avon outrebounded Plainfield 37-27, giving Brandon Peters and Connor Funkhouser some easy baskets in transition. Funkhouser and Peters both finished with a game-high 16 points. Funkhouser also pulled down 12 rebounds for a double-double.
Up 20-13 to start the second, Sam Bloom gave Avon a boost from the bench and scored eight points while grabbing five rebounds.
“There’s been four or five games where (Sam) really given us a big spark and he was really big for us tonight,” Young said.
Plainfield pulled within two of Avon at 20-18 after a basket by Nathan Mills and a Keegan Motter free throw. Avon then went on a 15-4 run to end the half and led 35-22 at the break.
Avon built a 45-26 advantage midway through the third after Peters and Funkhouser led a 6-0 spurt.
Plainfield closed to within 14 in the fourth, but Young reinserted his starters and the group built the lead to 20 before exiting the game and closing out the Quakers.
Garrett Patton (9), Bobby Jensen (8), and Nathan Mills (8) led Plainfield.
Plainfield (5-16) loses just two seniors from this squad, Jensen and James Mayberry, giving the Quakers a wealth of experience next year.
“Both of them were high-character kids… I can’t say enough about those two,” Weaver said of his seniors. “Varsity experience is huge and it will be interesting to see who steps up moving forward. We really have to invest in the weight room and get stronger.”
Avon (10-12) will face Martinsville (14-7) at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Friday following the Brownsburg/Mooresville matchup at 6 p.m. for a chance to advance to the sectional finals. Avon defeated Martinsville 64-55 in the teams’ last regular season game.
“With the way the draw worked out, each team really has only one day to prepare for each other, so, we are not going to change a lot of what we did down there,” Young said. “They did some good things against our pressure that we’re going to have to tweak a little bit. I don’t see either team getting away from what they’ve done all season.”