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Ava High School Basketball Tournament Round-Up

By Jason Hoekema

The Ava Bears and Lady Bears squads were on the road playing in area tournaments last week, one rushing to conclusion to beat the now-bust weather forecast. The Lady Bears played in the Springfield New Covenant tournament, facing Billings on Dec. 3 and New Covenant on Dec. 4. 

The Lady Bears picked up a 76-43 win over the Billings Wildcats with Ashton Bewley putting up 21 points with 8 twos and five from fouls drawn. 

Hannah Evans supported the onslaught with 6 shots and a three for 15 points. Claire Fossett added 12 followed by Eden Little and Lauren Mendel with 8 points each. 

The Lady Bears held the Wildcats to only 4 points in the second quarter, pulling away with the 49-18 lead and coming out in the second half with 37 points to close the game.

Despite the big win over Billings, the Lady Bears narrowly-dropped game two against New Covenant  on Tuesday.

The Lady Bears were held to only 10 points in the first quarter, giving the Lady Warriors an 18-10 lead. Ashton Bewley and Hannah Evans, and Lauren Mendel opened up the second quarter a bit with a combined 20 points to close the New Covenant lead to two, going into the break 35-33.

The Lady Warriors out-paced the Lady Bears in the third quarter, holding Ava to 13 points and only one three-pointer from Hanna Evans.

The Lady Bears delivered in the fourth, putting up 22 points to New Covenant’s 17, but still ended short at the buzzer, losing 71-68.

This left the Lady Bears 1-1 to compete in the third-place bracket on Saturday, Dec. 8.

The Ava Lady Bears won the third-place game against Greenwood, 67-34.

Lauren Mendel was able to tap-in six, aided by threes from Emaly Keyes and Hanna Evans in the first quarter for a team-total of 19 points.

Mendel again lead, putting up nine in the second quarter with four-combined twos from Evans and Emily Stillings to pull the Lady Bears up to 39 points at the half. 

After the break, the book changed and brought Ashton Bewley into the fold for 9 points, half of the squad’s 18 in the third-quarter take of 18 points.

Claire Fosset and Stillings both sunk twos, aided by Araina Evans with one more from the paint for 10 points in the fourth quarter. 

Last week the boys team competed a bit closer to home in the Mansfield Tournament.

The Bears debuted in the tournament by pummeling Gainesville in their opening game.

According to copies of the official score book, the Bears put-in 22 points in the first quarter with a three from Blake King and Nate Swofford. The squad was lead in scoring by Andrew Dalton who put in the work for 10 points. 

Going into the second, the Bears continued to extend the lead 46-20, taking advantage of fouls drawn from Gainesville by Blake King, Blayne Mendel, Drake king and Dalton for 14 points from the stripe. 

Despite giving up 10 fouls in the first half, Gainesville only made up six from foul shots given to the Bears.

After the break Gainesville rallied for 22 while cooling the Bears to 15 points in the third quarter. Drake King, Mendel, and Dalton returned the favor in the fourth, holding Gainesville to just 4 points to end the game. 

The Bears advanced 1-0 to face Seymour on Dec. 6, but fell 88-79 in a game plagued with 21 fouls given-up by the Bears. The Tigers didn’t fair so well against the whistle, either, giving-up 20 total fouls in both halves. 

Andrew Dalton worked the floor with 10 points in the first quarter, assisted by threes from Blake King and Nate Swofford to knot the game at 22. 

The Bears were able to pry a hard-earned lead from the Tigers in the second quarter, earning 14 of 24 points from the charity stripe and holding Gainesville to 21 for a narrow 46-43 lead going into the break. 

The Bears were held to 15 points in the third, giving up the lead to Gainesville, 64-61, in the third. 

The Tigers appeared to hone-in on Andrew Dalton, who brought-in 20 points in the first half, and was hushed to only 11 points in the second half of play. 

The Tigers had aces with Eric Helms and Trint Sampson who were able to push through the Bears’ defense for numerous twos and drawing fouls to match. 

Helms shot for 26 points in the second half, assisted by Sampson who brought in another 11. 

Unable to cool Helms, the Bears succumbed to 1-1 tournament record, putting them in the third place bracket against Houston High School on Dec. 7.

That game ended with an 81-56 victory for the Bears and a third-place finish in the Mansfield Tournament. 

The Houston Tigers were able to  lead Ava out-the -gate with a 14-13 score in the first quarter. 

After the one-point wake-up call, the Bears came back with a big second quarter for 27 points made on top of threes by Caleb Johnson, Blake and Drake King, and Andrew Dalton. 

Dalton was also able to draw five points from fouls allowed by the Tigers. 

The Bears kept-up over 20 points in each quarter for the rest of the game, Drake King and Dalton steadily making twos in the third quarter. 

Both the girls and boys squads walked away with third-place spots in their respective tournaments last week.