By Corey B. Elliot
BROWNSBURG — On paper, Tuesday night’s first round sectional contest between Avon (5-17) and Pike (17-4) looked like the Red Devils would outclass the Orioles.
Unfortunately for Avon, that was the outcome as the Red Devils defeated Avon, 61-31.
Led by senior Asia Coates, Pike held a 19-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Coates got help from sophomore Brittany Ward as the two combined for 27 points and contributed to a 40-16 halftime lead over the Orioles.
With a young roster and a tough schedule, large deficits seemed to be a situation Avon became accustomed to throughout this past season and Tuesday night was no different.
“I just told them to play harder,” Avon coach David Cupp said. “With the long season we’ve had, we’ve definitely taken our lumps and our schedule is really hard so I just wanted effort and I wanted their mentality to be that we were going to compete tonight and unfortunately we didn’t do that.”
Avon sophomore Brooke Peters scored the Orioles’ only third quarter basket with a 3-pointer that added to her team-high eight points.
Pike started the second half off the same way they finished the first half, full court pressing Avon and suffocating the Orioles on inbound passes. It did not get any easier for Avon, in fact, it only got harder as the reality began to set in for Cupp and his lone senior Megan Price.
“I’m a better human being from being around her (Price) for two years,” Cupp said. “She is as high-quality as they come and she is just a pure heart, smart kid who is passionate about life and about people. I want my 2-year old daughter to be just like Megan Price. I’d be a very happy and humble father if it turned out that way.”
Even in a 30 point loss there was a silver lining.
Once again next season, Avon will have just one senior, Rachel Griffin. But more than anything else, Cupp’s Orioles will have experience. There are currently 10 underclassmen on Avon’s roster who have endured 14 losses by 13 or more points and although it is hard to find the optimism on a night like Tuesday, Avon is not that far from being as competitive as Pike with a chance of their own to make a run at a sectional championship.
“Rachel has been a three-year varsity player so for her it’s just maintaining and as long as she can put the work in she will have a really successful senior year,” Cupp said. “I don’t think we are that far off. I think people look at the athleticism on our team and think we are miles away and I don’t think we are miles away but it’s the little things that matter. Just like golf, it’s a game of hundreds of yard that comes down to mere inches and I think that’s where we are.”