After a sobering 83-23 loss to top-ranked Nixa in the first round of the Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament last Wednesday, the Ava Bears came back on Thursday to defeat Buffalo, 55-50, in the consolation bracket.
That win earned the Bears the opportunity to play again in Friday where they lost to Morrisville, 43-36, in the double-elimination tournament format.
The Bears jumped out to a 12-7 first quarter lead over the Bison on Thursday and led Buffalo 28-18 at halftime.
Austin Gastineau led the Bears with 23 points and Ben Loge also tallied in double figures with 15 points. Others scoring for Ava were Caleb Miles 9, Brandon Guengerich 6 and Phillip Eubanks 2.
Buffalo’s Calvin Dryer had 28 points to lead all scorers.
Loge stepped up and knocked down 17 points against Morrisville on Friday morning but he was the only Bear to reach double figures as Morrisville eliminated the Bears with their second loss in the tournament.
The score was tied at 6-6 after one quarter of play, but the Panthers outscored the Bears 9-4 at halftime to hold a 15-10 lead. The Bears came back to tie again at the end of the third period, at 25-apiece, but the Panthers won the battle down the stretch to take the game, 43-36.
Ava was down 41-17 at halftime scored only six points in the second half against Nixa on Wednesday.
Gastineau led the Bears offensively with 8 points and Eubanks added 5. Miles scored 4 points and Cody Huff, Colton Akers and Loge added 2 apiece.
Austin Ruder had 23 points for Nixa, which had 12 different players involved in the scoring.
The Bears will travel to Aurora on Saturday for three games, beginning with a freshman game at 3 o’clock. The junior varsity will follow, with the varsity Bears taking on the Houn Dawgs in the nightcap.
Ava junior varsity will be playing in the Fair Grove JV Tournament Jan. 9 and 12. The round robin will feature the Bears, Fair Grove, Buffalo and Pleasant Hope.
Ava will play Pleasant Hope at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, then on Saturday will face Buffalo at 9 a.m. and Fair Grove at11 a.m.
Also, on Thursday, Jan. 10, the Ava freshman squad will play at Sparta in a single game beginning at 5 p.m.
The Ava Middle School Bears are also playing in a tournament this week at Willow Springs which concludes with games on Friday and Saturday.