BROWNSBURG — Games between rivals Avon and Brownsburg always feature tightly contested battles.
Last night’s boys’ basketball game between the two was no different.
The Avon Orioles prevailed over the host Brownsburg Bulldogs 54-51 after six lead changes and three ties.
Avon converted 9 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and shot 82 percent on the evening from the free-throw line.
“We did a great job of stepping up and making free throws,” Avon coach Jason Young said. “It seems like when you hit them early, the confidence kind of builds. Free-throw shooting hasn’t been a strength leading up to this game and it was huge for us to step up in a huge rivalry game on the road and make free throws.”
Brownsburg’s Kenneth Walton was fouled after he rebounded his own miss for a putback layup. Walton made the free throw to bring the Bulldogs to within a point at 47-48 with 2:09 remaining.
Avon’s offense took its time, waiting nearly a minute, before Levi Bailey was fouled. He drained both clutch free throws with 1:04 remaining.
Brownsburg trailed 47-50 on the ensuing possession when Walton fouled out of the game on a charge.
Carter VanWanzeele made two free throws with 38.4 remaining and Connor Funkhouser made two more with 24.9 seconds left to give Avon a 54-47 advantage.
With 13.5 seconds remaining, Brownsburg senior Martell Pope converted two free throws. After a Bulldog steal on the inbounds, Pope added a layup as time expired.
But it was too little, too late as Brownsburg had their chances.
“We fouled a little too much in the fourth quarter and we had a couple guys foul out,” Brownsburg coach Ronald Nored said. “We are pushing guys in the back and letting them get to the free throw line. We come down and get some charges, we just have to be more under control.”