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Lady Bears Lose SCA Game to Willow Springs Here; Beat Norwood Monday Night

The Ava Lady Bears traveled to Norwood Monday night and claimed a big 52-36 non-conference win.

That came after the Ava girls suffered a heartbreaking loss at home on Thursday night to Willow Springs, in a game that may prove to decide the SCA title.

Ava and Willow Springs both entered the game undefeated in conference play and Ava led the game for 3½ quarters, but lost, 39-37 in the final minutes.

Ava led Willow 23-17 at halftime, but the visiting Lady Bears continued to chip away at the lead and trailed by two, 27-25, at the end of the third quarter.

Ava’s 6-foot-1 senior center Jorie Garrett went to the bench in the third quarter when she received her third and fourth fouls on a personal followed by a technical. She did not return until 2½ minutes left in the game.

Willow Springs took the lead for the first time at 4:44 in the fourth quarter, but Ava regained the lead at 2:15 on a 3-point shot by Bethany Horn.

With the game tied, Willow Springs’ Kyndall Bunch sank two free throws with 8 seconds on the clock to put the visitors up by what would be the winning margin, 39-37.

Bunch led all scorers with 15 points.

After Coach Clint Gazette called a time out to set up the final play, Ava in-bounded the ball with 6 seconds left. Garrett drove down low and was pushed out of bounds at the baseline by the double-team defense, but no foul was called. With less than a second left, all Willow had to do was get the ball in play to let time expire.

Willow Springs converted 15 of 18 free throws while Ava shot four on the night, making two.

Abbie Lansdown sank three 3-point shots and finished with 13 points to lead Ava. Emily Sterling had eight points and Horn six. Erica Croney added two for Ava. Garrett and Payton Lakey, normally Ava’s leading scorers, were held to four points each.

At Norwood Monday night, Ava outscored the Lady Pirates 34-16 in the second and third periods, and came away with a 52-36 win.

Lakey had 25 points and eight rebounds for Ava and Garrett added 14 points. Horn had 7, Sterling 4, and Croney 2 to complete Ava’s scoring.

Cottengin had 18 points for Norwood.

Ava has Blue Eye at home tonight (Thursday) and will host Thayer on Monday, Feb. 13, for the final home game of the season, which will also be Senior Night.

The Lady Bears will close out the regular season at Houston on Feb. 16, before starting district play the following week at Cabool.

Last week’s account of the game with Mtn. Grove was apparently attacked by gremlins. Following is the complete text as it should have read:

Lady Bears Fall to West Plains;

Beat Mtn. Grove at Home Monday

After advancing to the finals of the Reeds Spring tournament last week, the Ava Lady Bears made a dismal showing on Friday night, losing to West Plains in the championship game, 46-24.

Ava struggled offensively all night, with credit going to a strong West Plains defense. The Ava girls trailed 11-1 after one period and the halftime score was West Plains 21, Jorie Garrett 7, with Garrett scoring two field goals and three free throws in the first half.

Ava finally put some points on the scoreboard in the third period, but Coach Clint Gazette was never able to get the offense in sync.

Garrett finished with 12 points on the night, and Payton Lakey, who was playing sick, scored only five points in the game. Emily Sterling added four points and Bethany Horn had three marks for Ava.

Andi Haney had 23 points for West Plains, including 15 of 16 free throws.

The Zizzers improved their record to 18-2, with one of those losses coming to Ava on Jan. 2 at West Plains. Their other loss was to Springfield Kickapoo.

This is the second year in a row that the Lady Bears have lost to West Plains in the finals of the Reeds Spring Invitational.

The Ava gals pulled it back together for the SCA game here Monday night against Mtn. Grove, chalking up a 66-34 victory in the ladies’ side of the Route 66 Showdown sponsored by Town & Country Bank.

Lakey, feeling much better, led the team with 22 points, seven rebounds, six blocked shots and four stea/ls. Garrett had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and point guard Abbie Lansdown had an outstanding performance with 15 points on the night.

Horn had a solid game with six points, and Coach Gazette said Emily Sterling was “a stopper” on defense, as well as contributing three points. Erica Croney also had two points for Ava.

Sophomore guard Ashlyn Rogers led the Lady Panthers with nine points.

The win over Mtn. Grove boosts the Lady Bears to 4-0 in conference play and 15-5 overall.