Red Devils rally for win
Allen Moody | Highlands TodaySEBRING In the grand scheme of things, Monday's basketball game between Avon Park and Sebring didn't mean a whole lot, as both teams are gearing up for next week's district tournaments. You couldn't tell that from watching the players or the fans, however, as both teams battled to the wire and the Red Devils capped off a sweep of the Blue Streaks with a 63-60 win.
Published: January 30, 2013
Published: January 30, 2013
"It's really hard to beat a team three times in a one year, especially your rivals on the road," said Avon Park coach Marty O' Hora. "It was a great win for us."
The two teams went toe-to-toe in the first quarter, nut it was all Blue Streaks at the start of the second quarter. Baskets by Decaris Jones and Terrell Williams put Sebring up 20-16 and a 3-point by Jones made it 23-16.
Luke Ancrum followed with a pair of free throws and a basket by Conner Cook put the final touches on an 11-0 run.
O' Hora wasn't too happy with what he was seeing on the court.
"We needed to stop and get ourselves together," said Avon Park guard Alfred Brown. "The coach told us we were playing like punks. That's what pushed us."
The Red Devils were able to cut the margin to seven at the half.
"I thought our attitudes were horrible in the first half," O' Hora said. "That was kind of where we were at the beginning of the year; hot-dogging and show-boating. Towards the end of the second half we picked it up a little bit and played together."
The teams traded baskets at the start of the third quarter, but the Red Devils converted 3-point plays on their first two possessions, as Recarius Burley and Brown both were fouled while scoring.
The Blue Streaks pushed their lead back to 11 on a basket by Ezell Gammage, but a pair of free throws by Tyrone Perry and a basket by Brown cut the lead to seven.
The Red Devils forced a couple of turnovers, which Avon Park's Gus Owens converted into layups, closing the gap to three.
Owens hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to knot the score at 48, but a pair of baskets by Ancrum—including a 3-point play—helped the Streaks take a 54-52 lead with 2:52 remaining.
A basket by Perry tied the score and after the Blue Streaks made a free throw, Perry converted a 3-point play to give the Red Devils a 57-55 lead. Sebring Quantrae Rouse tied the score with a pair of free throws, but two free throws by Burley pushed Avon Park back in front.
Jones drilled a 3-pointer with 45.5 seconds remaining to give the Blue Streaks a 60-59 lead and Owens hit a free throw to tie the score at 60.
The Red Devils stole the ball and Jovan Pratt was fouled and made a free throw to give Avon Park a 61-60 lead.
The Red Devils blocked a Sebring shot attempt and the Blue Streaks immediately fouled Brown with 2.2 seconds left. He sank both foul shots and the Blue Streaks' desperation half-court shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
"It feels good to come out with a win," Brown said. "We're ready for the playoffs."
Sebring coach Princeton Harris said it was a great game and he didn't have any qualms with the effort of his players.
"They played very well and played with a lot of heart," he said. "They played hard and that's all you can ask for."
It was the type of game both teams believe will help when next week's district tournaments begin.
"We'll take a lot from it," Harris said. "I think we did a get a little antsy there. We'll watch the film and make some corrections and get ready for the district tournament. We're using these games to get ready for the tournament and that's where our focus is."
Owens led the Red Devils, while Brown added 20 and Perry scored nine.
Jones scored 17 points to pace the Blue Streaks, with Ancrum chipping-in with 12 and Rouse scoring 10.
The Blue Streaks host Lake Placid on Thursday and Avon Park visited Hardee on Tuesday.
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