By Matt Anderson
INDIANAPOLIS — The Avon boys’ basketball team gave No. 4-ranked Warren Central a scare on their home court Saturday night but fell short, 58-49.
It seemed as if (4-0) Warren Central’s height and athletic ability just got the better of the (2-3) Orioles. Whether it would be on the post or grabbing offensive rebounds, those few possessions ultimately determined the game.
While Avon did the best it could in its 2-3 zone, the Orioles could not stop the likes of Warren forwards Jordan Garnett (14 points), Gary Bonds (11 points), and IU recruit Devin Davis (10 points), who scored his 1,000th career point in the third quarter.
“We did a nice job rotating in our zone, and we took away the high post which we thought was an area that they’d like to attack,” Avon coach Jason Young said. “We had an awful lot of trouble checking out of the zone and we let them get too deep. We then tried to out jump them and you can’t do that against their athletes.”
Avon got out to a quick 4-0 lead to begin the game by getting the ball inside. Despite Warren Central’s stature, going inside and driving the lane seemed to be the Orioles’ best weapon the entire night.
Avon’s big men led the way in scoring as Conner Funkhouser had 17 points and Aaron Bode added 11.
However, when the Orioles went away from the basket, they went cold. They finished the first quarter 2 of 9 from the field and trailed 11-7 after one quarter.
Avon made two field goals in the first quarter and three in the second, but were 9 of 9 from the free throw line in the second quarter, and 12 of 13 in the first half. That helped the Orioles trim the Warren’s lead to three at halftime, 25-22.
“We tried to establish a post presence early and I thought we were able to get to the free throw line,” Young said.
Both offenses came alive in the third quarter as Warren Central opened up a 48-37 lead. The Warriors went on a 11-4 run to start the first two minutes of the quarter but Avon responded with its own 8-0 run right after.
At one point, the Orioles found themselves down 38-34 midway through the third quarter, but Warren Central would close the quarter on a 10-3 run. Avon failed to get back to the free throw line as often as they did in the first half, going 1 of 2 in the second half, with both attempts in the third quarter.
“They did a much better job of getting to the free throw line than we did,” Young said. “We settled for jump shots and that’s not going to get it done against a top five team, especially on the road.”
Warren Central showed great discipline in the final quarter, holding onto the ball and running down the clock. It forced Avon to loosen its zone and potentially open up some holes in its defense.
“For us to have to extend our defense against their athletes, it really puts us in a vulnerable position and it’s obviously a position we wanted to avoid,” Young said. “But when you get down six to eight points with three minutes to go, you’re going to have to extend. We didn’t want to do it, but we had to.”
For the few shot attempts Avon did get in the final quarter, they could not connect on many. The Orioles hit their first 3-pointer of the game with 33 seconds left and added another with seconds remaining.
This was Avon’s second game in a back-to-back. The Orioles defeated Harrison Friday night, 56-48. They return to the court with another back-to-to back this Friday at Brownsburg and then Saturday at Southport.