The Ava Middle School Bears participated in the Willow Springs Tournament on Jan. 2, 4 and 5. The four schools involved played three games in a round-robin format.
The Bears opened the tournament against the Mountain Grove Panthers on Wednesday, Jan. 2. The Panthers defeated the Bears 43-7 in the seventh grade contest. Seth Fowler, Braden Swofford, and Joey Swofford scored two points each for Ava. Bailey Bewley chipped in one point to complete the scoring.
The eighth grade Bears were defeated 44-35 by Mountain Grove. Ava held an 11-8 lead after the first quarter of play but the Panthers rallied to claim a 23-19 halftime edge. Mountain Grove went on to put the game out of reach in the final three minutes of play. Anthony Rosas led the scoring for the Bears with 17 points, followed by Nate Crandall with 7 points. The remainder of the scoring for Ava included: Nick Sterling 5, Colton Skyles 4, and Chase Dodson 2 points.
The Bears returned to Willow Springs on Friday night to play the host school. The Willow Springs squad won over Ava by a score of 52-27. Takoma Dobbs led the scoring for Ava with 17 points, followed by Quincey McDonald with 4 points. Weston Stillings, Joey Swofford, and Quinton Kelly scored 2 points each to round out the scoring for Ava. Ava won the 8th grade game against Willow Springs 47-21. Ava held a 25-8 halftime lead and extended the lead to 38-12 by the end of the third quarter. Leading scorers for the Bears were Colton Skyles with 12 points and Anthony Rosas with 10 points. The rest of Ava’s scoring included: Nick Sterling 6, Kelly McDonald 4, Taylor Haltom 4, Devin Elliott 3, Chase Dodson 3, Tyler Pellham 3, and Paxton Kjar 2 points.
The Bears faced the West Plains Zizzers in the final round of the tournament on Saturday, Jan. 5. The seventh grade Bears twice rallied from behind to claim an exciting 32-31 win. Ava trailed 12-4 after the opening period but rallied to take an 18-15 halftime lead. The Bears continued to lead by one point at 25-24 after three quarters of play before West Plains scored the first 7 points of the final period to take a 31-25 lead with just under three minutes remaining.
The Bears proceeded to score the last 7 points of the game, culminated by Quincey McDonald banking in a 10-foot jumper to give the Bears the lead with 11 seconds remaining. Ava then held off the Zizzers on their final possession to secure the win. Leading the scoring for Ava was Takoma Dobbs with 15 points, followed by Joey Swofford and McDonald with 6 points each. Weston Stillings scored 3 points, and Michael Lane added 2 points to complete the scoring. The 8th grade Bears were also winners on Saturday, defeating the Zizzers 34-16. Both teams struggled to score early, with the Bears leading 3-2 after the first quarter. Ava warmed up a little in the second period to take a 13-7 halftime lead. The Bears blew the game open in the third quarter by outscoring West Plains 15-0 to extend the lead to 28-7.
Leading scorers for the Bears were Rosas with 17 points and Skyles with 12 points. The remainder of the scoring for the Bears included: Blake Litwiller 2, Zimran Lawrence 2, and Tyler Pellham 1 point.
The Bears finished third in the 7th grade division of the tournament based on their win over West Plains. The 8th grade squad finished second overall with two wins and one loss. The teams from Mountain Grove won both divisions of the tournament, posting a record of three wins and no losses in each division.
The Bears close out the 2012-2013 season on Thursday, Jan. 10 at home against Springfield Catholic. The 7th grade game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., with the 8th grade game following.