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Second half charge helps Avon dump Faith

HURON -- Patience was key for the Avon girls basketball team on Thursday in its opening game at the Class B state tournament. Down 17-12 at halftime and having committed 11 first-half turnovers, the Pirates focused on being more efficient and eff...

Avon's Heidi Cap, center, drives to the basket during the Class B girls basketball tournament first round game Thursday at the Huron Arena. Also pictured for Avon is Ashley Cap, back right. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)
Avon's Heidi Cap, center, drives to the basket during the Class B girls basketball tournament first round game Thursday at the Huron Arena. Also pictured for Avon is Ashley Cap, back right. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)

HURON - Patience was key for the Avon girls basketball team on Thursday in its opening game at the Class B state tournament.

Down 17-12 at halftime and having committed 11 first-half turnovers, the Pirates focused on being more efficient and effective in the second half.

It worked.

Fifth-seeded Avon scored 17 points in each of the third and fourth quarters and powered past a 20-win Faith team by a 46-38 score in the quarterfinal round Thursday afternoon at the Huron Arena.

An 7-0 run for the Pirates in the middle of the third quarter put Avon ahead for the remainder of the game, lifted by a 3-pointer from Hanna Powers, an inside bucket for Heidi Cap and by a pair of free throws from Lauren Sees to make it 27-24 with 1:36 left in the third quarter.

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The fourth quarter opened well for Avon when Powers knocked down a 3-pointer and a Jill Bertus 3-pointer with 4:48 left made it a seven-point Pirate lead, which would never be in doubt the rest of the way.

"At halftime, we just said we needed to run our offense a little better and be a little more patient," said Avon coach Brad Poppe. "We were passing the ball before players were cutting.

There was nothing pretty about the first 16 minutes for the Pirates. They shot 24 percent from the field and made five field goals. But Avon's defense was doing the trick, so the halftime message for was for the team to settle down offensively and to be as patient as possible.

"Once we started to knock down some shots, we were fine," said Powers. "But were nervous, I know I was really nervous before the game."

In addition to the improved second half shooting, the Pirates punished Faith on the glass, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and outrebounding the Longhorns 38-21.

"That's just our game," Cap said. "We love to defend and we love to rebound and that made a difference in the second half."

"We've emphasized that as much as we could," Poppe said. "We're at our best when we're out there being aggressive and we brought that."

Cap, who averaged 11 points and 12 rebounds a game, finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Sees had seven rebounds.

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"That's just Heidi," Poppe said. "She's not a 20 point-a-night player but she's going to get her rebounds and be important inside."

The Longhorns were held 12 points under their season average in the opening game of the tournament. Shali Sheridan and Kailyn Groves each had eight points to lead Faith but were 5-of-23 combined shooting to get there. They'll play Leola/Frederick today in the consolation semifinals at noon.

Meanwhile, Avon will get the final undefeated team remaining in South Dakota girls basketball in Sully Buttes (24-0) at 6 p.m. today in the semifinals. Poppe said he knows his team will have to protect the ball and play their game against the Chargers.

"If we turn the ball over like we did in the first half again, Sully Buttes will eat us alive," Poppe said. "They're a great team and we're excited for the challenge because I think we can play a good game with them."

Avon (19-5)

Kacie Mudder 1-3 0-0 2, Heidi Cap 6-10 1-1 13, Livi Jurrens 1-1 0-2 2, Cheylee Nagel 0-1 0-0 0, Ashley Cap 0-3 0-0 0, Lauren Sees 3-13 6-8 12, Courtney Buchholz 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Reeves 0-0 0-0 0, Jill Bertus 1-2 0-0 3, Hanna Powers 4-8 3-4 14, Tori Schryvers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-41 10-15 46

Faith (20-3)

Brooklyn Schauer 1-2 0-0 3, Shali Sheridan 2-12 3-4 8, Brandi Enright 0-0 0-0 0, Mikenzy Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Hanson 0-0 0-0 0, Katie Bogue 0-0 0-0 0, Jayden Shoemaker 0-2 3-4 3, Tanielle Arneson 3-5 0-0 7, Brooke Lemmel 1-2 1-2 3, Kailyn Groves 3-11 2-4 8, Triston Delbridge 2-2 0-0 4, Teagan Engel 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 13-39 9-14 38

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Avon 6 12 29 46

Faith 5 16 26 38

FG%: Avon .390, Faith .333. 3-pt FG: Avon 4-13 (Nagel 0-1, Sees 0-4, Bertus 1-2, Powers 3-6), Faith 3-9 (Schauer 1-1, Sheridan 1-4, Shoemaker 0-1, Arneson 1-2, Groves 0-1). Rebounds: Avon 38 (Cap 12), Faith 21 (Groves 6). Fouls: Avon 12, Faith 17. Fouled out: Groves. Assists: Avon 5 (Cap 2), Faith 7 (Sheridan 5). Steals: Avon 7 (Cap 1, Jurrens 1, Nagel 1, Cap 1, Sees 1, Powers 1, Schryvers 1), Faith 9 (Schauer 3). Blocked shots: Avon 2 (Cap 2), Faith 1 (Groves 1). Turnovers: Avon 16, Faith 13.

Related Topics: AVONFAITHGIRLS BASKETBALL
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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