The 2011-2012 basketball season ended for Ava Lady Bears in the semifinals of the Class 3 District 2 tournament at Cabool last Wednesday night, Feb. 29.
Oddly enough – or perhaps it should be said, appropriately – it was Willow Springs, the same team that denied the Lady Bears the SCA title, that also knocked them out of the district tournament.
The Willow Lady Bears defeated the Ava Lady Bears 50-41, led by 26 points from SCA player of the year Kyndall Bunch.
Jorie Garrett led Ava with 15 points and Payton Lakey followed with 14. Garrett also had eight rebounds and two steals, and Lakey had four rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
Abbie Lansdown had seven points for Ava, Bethany Horn had four and Erica Croney had one point to complete Ava’s scoring.
Ava fell behind by as much as 17 points but trimmed the deficit to five points late in the game, with a chance to cut it to three. But the Ava girls were just not able to get the momentum to swing to their side of the court.
To put the wrapper on the season, the Ava girls outscored their opponents 1,284 to 1,020 this season or 51.4 to 40.8 per game.
Lakey led the Lady Bears in scoring with 421 season points for an average of 16.8 per game. Garrett was close behind with 344 season points (13.8 per game).
Garrett was the team’s leading rebounder with 227 (9.1 rpg) and Lakey had an incredible 63 blocked shots on the season.
Lakey and Garrett were both named first team all-conference this week in voting by coaches of the SCA. Lansdown received honorable mention all-SCA in post-season voting.
Ava’s five starting seniors, Lakey, Garrett, Bethany Horn, Emily Sterling and Abbie Lansdown, averaged 48.7 points per game, 25.7 rebounds per game, and 49.2 percent field goal accuracy.
Coach Clint Gazette will watch his five starters, plus classmate Morgan Emerich, graduate this spring. But moving up is a group of underclassmen who have practiced against this veteran team every day, and who will be ready to prove themselves next year as varsity players.
The Lady Bears finished the 2011-12 season at 19-7 and 6-1 in the SCA.