By Jake Thompson
LIZTON — Inclement weather delayed the Hendricks County boys’ and girls’ basketball tourney for two days and teams were anxious to hit the hardwood.
The defending county champions started their tournament runs off with victories Thursday night as Avon’s boys defeated Tri-West 73-68 in the night’s opener and Brownsburg blew past Avon, 64-26.
“I thought both (Avon and Tri-West) were very rusty, especially in the first half and that’s understandable with as many days off as both teams had,” Avon boys’ coach Jason Young said. “We were fortunate to win this basketball game.”
Avon jumped out to a 7-0 advantage before Tri-West closed to within one at 10-9. With two seconds remaining in the quarter, Avon’s Jack McCue sent a 3-pointer through to extend the Orioles’ lead by four points, 13-9.
That was the story of the night for Tri-West as the Bruins would inch closer and get within a couple of baskets of the Orioles, Avon would extend its lead.
“We did answer when they went on runs… and fortunately for us we did,” Young said.
Tri-West briefly took the lead in the second quarter after back-to-back baskets by Jerriontai Ragsdale put the Bruins up 17-15. With the game tied at 20, Avon went on an 8-0 run to end the half and gained some much-needed momentum.
“That was huge because it was one of those cases where you thought it would be a one possession game at the half,” Young said.
Tri-West’s full court press caused Avon some problems in the third and both teams stated to flow offensively with the Bruins outscoring the Orioles 22-18 in the quarter. However, Tri-West trailed 46-42 at the end of the third.
Avon’s Brandon Peters, who finished with a game-high 25 points, started the Orioles off with a 5-0 run to begin the fourth.
Tri-West pulled within five points twice, but Avon was able to hold them off especially from the free throw line. Avon went 13 of 15 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and 21 of 25 for the game.
Avon’s Conner Funkhouser went 7 of 8 from the line, adding to his 18-point total for the night.
Brownsburg girls’ Amy Brauman coach echoed Young’s assessment of being “rusty,” although the Bulldogs made quick work of Avon.
“When you’ve been off a few days, you never know what to expect and I thought we came out pretty focused, played pretty good defense and executed on offense,” Brauman said.
Brownsburg never gave Avon a chance, jumping on top of the Orioles 8-0 to begin the game and by the end of the first quarter Brownsburg led by 10, 16-6.
Avon matched its six-point output in the second quarter while Brownsburg continued to rack up points, taking a 32-12 lead into the break.
Brownsburg capitalized on Avon’s miscues, turning 14 turnovers into 12 points.
“I thought our guards did a good job of getting in passing lanes and we don’t often do that,” Brauman said. “We’ve been working a lot on defense and it’s nice to get some easy buckets.”
Things got worse for Avon in the third quarter as the Orioles did not score a single field goal, instead getting three points from Katrina Hopkins at the free throw line.
Brownsburg subbed its entire second string in with four minutes remaining in the fourth, getting some valuable work in the second half as Brauman mixed some starters in the rest of the way.
“I think it’s big (to get many girls playing time),” Brauman said. “We’ve got a lot of people that can play, but there are some games they’re not suited to play in, so, they do not play as much. Tonight, they did a good job running the floor.”
Avon more than doubled its output in the fourth, scoring 14 points.
Brownsburg had four players — Reilly Olmstead (16), Aliyah Walker (13), Crystal Stowers (11) and Hannah Mingus (10) — in double figures while 9 of 12 Bulldogs scored.