AVON — Despite 10 points and four rebounds from Lexi Short, the Avon girls’ basketball team fell to visiting Hamilton Southeastern 53-36 Thursday night.
The loss caps a difficult regular season for the Orioles, who finished 1-18, but Avon coach David Cupp does not equate wins and losses with the season’s successes.
“I told the kids that it would have been very simple for them to mail it in and quit a long time ago,” Cupp said. “The fact that they’re still fighting out there, digging after loose balls, trying to make plays after such a long year, I couldn’t be more happy.These guys have just rallied around each other and just played. Obviously we didn’t win, but I never measure how proud I am on a win or loss.”
After a back and forth first half, Hamilton Southeastern (11-9) took a 19-18 advantage into the locker room.
The Royals came out hot in the third quarter, scoring the first 11 points of the half. The onslaught would continue, as the Orioles were outscored 19-6 in the period.
“(The third) was the toughest quarter,” Cupp said. “(HSE) won our conference outright tonight and that’s really saying something. They do such a good job defensively of really taking away lanes to drive and passing angles. Right off the bat, we forced a turnover and we missed it in transition. After that, it just kind of snowballed on us really quick.”
Hamilton Southeastern coach Chris Huppenthal said he was happy with the way his team finished.
“I was not too pleased at all in the first half,” he said. “There was a lot of senseless mistakes and credit Avon. They played hard and forced us into some mistakes. Our kids turned it up in the second half and took care of business. I’m proud of our kids.”
The third quarter run allowed the Royals to cruise to victory and the Hoosier Crossroads Conference title.
“To run through this conference and only lose one game and win the conference championship after losing so many girls last year ... we really didn’t have a starter back,” Huppenthal said. “After one of our seniors went down with a torn ACL in July, we were worried, especially when it was our point guard. I’m really proud of these girls to accomplish what they just did.”
Along with Short, Bailey Wulle scored six points and Destiny Harvey chipped in five.
Megan Walton led the way for the Royals with 19 points and five rebounds. Darie Kirschling contributed eight points.
Avon will battle Brownsburg (12-8) in the sectional opener at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Terre Haute North.
“I like our prospects next week,” Cupp said. “We have four days to really focus on them and we’ll see what happens.”