DANVILLE — For the first time in the boys’ side of the Hendricks Regional Health County Basketball Tournament’s history, a three-peat was recorded.
Avon beat rival Brownsburg 41-38 to record its third straight county championship.
“It means a lot,” Avon coach Jason Young said. “It’s not an easy thing to win this championship and to do it three years in a row is special.”
Oriole senior Jordan Rhoades made the first of two free throws with 21.4 seconds remaining to give Avon a 41-38 advantage.
Brownsburg drove the length of the court and had two treys to tie it, but missed the first and the second got blocked.
At halftime, the Bulldogs trailed 26-13, but an 11-1 run between the third and fourth quarters from Brownsburg cut the lead to one after a Kenneth Walton offensive rebound and put back.
Brownsburg coach Ronald Nored said, “I think we made some adjustments to what they were doing and our assistant coaches did a really good job of seeing what we could do against their 3-2 zone. Our 1-3-1 helped us out a little bit defensively as we tried to run and jump them. Then we just got the ball rolling and I think that had a lot to do with it. And they woke up and started playing too.”
With 1:25 remaining in the game, Connor Funkhouser scored on a layup, was fouled, and made the free throw to give the Orioles a 40-36 advantage.
Trevor Lucas scored on an offensive rebound and put back to bring the Bulldogs within two points with 35 seconds remaining.
That’s when Rhoades missed 1 of 2 free throws and gave Brownsburg shots to tie.
“You’ve got to give Brownsburg a lot of credit,” Young said. “We had a really good chance to bury them and they didn’t quit. We knew they wouldn’t quit. That’s not the type of kids they have. That’s not Brownsburg basketball. They battled back, obviously, and we hit just enough free throws and got just enough stops to secure a win.”
The Bulldogs’ performance turned around after halftime when they switched jerseys. Initially, Brownsburg brought black jerseys as the “away” team so the first half was played with both teams wearing black.
Exiting the locker room after halftime, the Bulldogs were wearing their home whites.
“That was my fault,” Nored said. “I looked on there and thought we were black jerseys. Trust me, from here on out, we’ll bring two jerseys to every game. That was my fault, but our principal went and got our other jerseys. That was nice of him to do, so we got to play in those in the second half.”
The Orioles’ leading scorer was Funkhouser with 14 points. Logan White was the only other Avon player to score in double figures with 10.
The Orioles’ all-around team effort willed them to victory as different players stepped up at different times.
Avon freshman Brandon Peters ruptured his bursa sac against Plainfield and tried to play against Danville in the semifinals and Brownsburg in the finals.
“He just didn’t have it tonight, he basically played without a left arm,” Young said. “Levi Bailey started in his place and did a terrific job.”
Bailey scored all eight of his points in the first half.
Lucas was the only Bulldog to score in double figures with 14 points.