AVON — The host Orioles came into their game Friday versus Lafayette Jeff on a three-game slide, including two tough conference losses. A fourth-quarter surge broke Avon’s losing streak and gave it a 56-50 win over the Broncos.
Conner Funkhouser led Avon with a game-high 16 points, after scoring only four in the first half, while Brandon Peters added 11.
Avon looked poised to run away early, as it jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Jeff struggled offensively, failing to convert on its first five trips down the floor.
The Broncos increased their pressure as the quarter continued, and forced six Avon turnovers in the period. Those takeaways allowed the visitors to fight their way back into the contest, as Avon’s lead was only three going into the second quarter.
Avon coach Jason Young said the team let its guard down early and turnovers let Jeff back into it.
“We got off to a great start,” said Young. “We got layups on three of our first four possessions. I think it was one of those things where it came too easy. We just had some careless turnovers early.”
Quarin Hood stole the show for Jeff (4-11) in the second quarter, netting 13 points, including three makes from behind the arc. Despite Hood’s effectiveness, Avon kept pace behind a balanced scoring attack. Peters scored six in the period while four teammates also added points, and Avon (7-9) went into the half tied at 26.
Much of the third quarter was tightly contested, but the Broncos finished the period on a 4-0 run to take a 40-36 lead into the closing minutes. Avon’s deficit grew to seven as the fourth quarter began, but the tides quickly changed as Avon’s defense stepped up.
Avon outscored Jeff 20-7 for the remainder of the contest.
Fueling the comeback was Funkhouser, who scored eight points in the quarter.
Young said Funkhouser excelled in every aspect of his game, and his success is due in large part to his effort and intensity for all 32 minutes.
“Conner’s always played with a lot of intensity and a lot of passion,” said Young. “He’s been a joy to coach, and I thought he really went aggressive to the basket tonight and finished around the rim and stepped up to make some big free throws for us.”
Jack McCue brought the Avon fans to their feet as he tied the game with a 3-pointer with five minutes remaining.
Funkhouser hit a layup and completed an and-one at the free throw line, giving Avon a 49-46 lead with 4:02 to play. It was a lead the Orioles would not relinquish.
Young said it was a much-needed win for his team.
“We needed to win a conference game tonight, we needed a win period,” he said. “I’m really glad for these guys to be able to enjoy this.”
Jeff finished with three players in double-figure scoring. Darian Collins led the way with 14 points, while Quarian Hood and Devin Haney chipped in 13 and 11, respectively.
Avon will hit the road tonight to face Ben Davis.