Bears Drop Games at Home To Mansfield and Conway

The Ava Bears dropped two non-conference games at home this week, falling to Mansfield last Friday night in the annual Hoopcoming event and losing to Conway on Tuesday evening.
On Friday night Mansfield jumped out to a 14-4 first quarter lead and downed the Bears 66-47.
The Lions’ 6-foot-6 senior center Jacob Caruso scored 29 points to lead all scorers.
Ava had three players in double figures, led by Chase Gastineau’s 13 points. Anthony Rosas added 12 and Shannon Porter scored 11 for Ava.
Rounding out Ava’s scoring were Nick Sterling, John Luebbering and Andrew Jones with 3 each, and Morgan Smith with 2 points.
Ava trailed Mansfield 29-17 at halftime.
Mansfield converted 20 of 31 free throws on the night while Ava connected on 9 of 18.
The Ava Bears and Conway Bears squared off on the Ava court Tuesday night. Ava was able to play with the visitors, coached by former Ava mentor Jeff Cope, early, trailing just 16-14 after one period of play.
Conway pulled out to a 30-22 halftime lead, then ran away with the game in the second half, winning 72-43, as Conway’s speed and pressure defense was too much for the home team Bears to overcome.
Gastineau led Ava with 13 points. Others scoring for Ava were Sterling 8, Rosas 6, Porter 5, Colton Skyles, Nate Bray and Smith with 3 each, and Zach Hunsaker with 2 points.
The Bears will begin their conference schedule on the road at Thayer on Friday night. Next Tuesday the Bears will be home against Marion C. Early of Morrisville in a three-game affair starting with the freshman game at 5 o’clock.
The Bears will play in Mtn. Grove’s Family Pharmacy Panther Classic during the week of Jan. 26-31. Pairings were released Wednesday, and have the Bears seeded seventh, and playing Marshfield in first-round action on Tuesday, Jan. 27.
Ava’s junior varsity is playing in a tournament at Fair Grove Jan. 14-17, and the freshmen will play in a 9th grade tournament at Willow Springs Jan. 19-24.
Ava’s freshmen are seeded sixth at Willow and will play Mtn. Grove on Monday night at 8:15. All first-round games are being played on Monday.
Semifinals and consolation games will be played Thursday, with finals on Saturday.
In the JV tournament at Fair Grove, Ava was playing Sparta Wednesday and would play Marshfield at 9 o’clock Saturday morning in pool play.
Fifth place and third place games will be at 10:30 Saturday, with the first place game scheduled to begin at noon Saturday.
Pool A teams are Clever, Fair Grove and Pleasant Hope. In Pool B are Ava, Marshfield and Sparta.