Junior varsity sports roundup
Jamie Shell / (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Defensive effort keys JV girls victory against Lady Bearcats
Following a shaky first half, Avery’s JV girls basketball team maintained control for much of its 30-22 win against Hendersonville.
The Lady Bearcats held a narrow 8-7 lead against AHS after one period of play behind four points from Tiara Gary. Avery countered with a three-pointer by freshman Elizabeth Pittman to keep the Big Red close. Hendersonville continued to hang around, however, holding Avery to just four points in the second quarter. The Lady Bearcats scored four points of its own to maintain a slim 12-11 lead at halftime.
As the second half unfolded, however, it was evident that the halftime pep talk was effective. Avery exploded for 10 points in the frame, while holding HHS to just a single two-point basket. Christian Burleson added four points in the quarter, with two points each from teammates Ashley Singleton, Lizzie Andrews and Brandy Banner.
In the game’s final seven minutes, Avery managed its lead with strong defense and key scoring efforts. Pittman, Burleson, Singleton and Andrews pitched in points as the Big Red kept the game out of reach.
Burleson paced Avery with eight points, with six points each from Pittman and Andrews.
“Defensively, we have a young team, and we don’t have a lot of experience on the offensive end, so we’ve had to establish defense as the way to ignite our offense to score points and win games,” Avery JV girls head basketball coach Allison Vance said about her club. “Destiny Ollis is a sophomore who has been a spark plug for us. Ashley Singleton has stepped up as a freshman at our point guard position, and Jessica Hoilman and Lizzie Andrews have been huge for us in the post, while Elizabeth Pittman has been our shooter who has had great range this season. If Elizabeth gets going, we know we’re going to have a good offensive night.”
Avery’s success as a team has been greatly based on tough defense and team effort.
“We run many of the same plays as the varsity team. The biggest thing for me as the JV coach is to help the girls understand together how to run plays for when they get to the varsity level,” Vance added. “I want them to have those fundamentals down in order to run plays the right way, so we don’t have to teach them to dribble, pass, shoot and those fundamental things when they move up.”
Avery improves to 9-1 in conference play leading to this week’s conference home games against Madison and Mountain Heritage and road contest at Polk.
JV boys drop four-point loss to Bearcats
Avery’s JV boys basketball team hung close with the powerful Hendersonville Bearcats for the entirety of its Tuesday, Jan. 29, contest. In the end, however, the Bearcats connected on key free throws and staved a late Vikings rally to escape Newland with a 57-53 win.
HHS raced to a 20-point first quarter as it took a nine-point lead after one quarter of play. Dalton Tennant led the Avery offense in the first seven minutes with seven of AHS’s 11 points in the period.
Avery struggled to find offensive continuity against a pressuring Hendersonville defensive press. HHS pushed its lead to a dozen points at 37-25 at halftime. Caleb Stansberry and Jacob Waldroup each poured in four points in the quarter to help keep the Vikings within striking distance.
The clubs played virtually even in the third period, as HHS held a 51-37 lead entering the final quarter. In the fourth quarter, however, Avery showed its fighting spirit as it refused to yield. Avery mounted a rally behind seven points from Stansberry and 10 second-half points from Tyler Pitman to draw to within as close as four points.
Avery’s defense held Hendersonville to only two field goals in the final seven minutes and outscored the Bearcats 16-6 in the fourth quarter, but the rally proved too late as HHS held on for the win.
Pitman led four Avery players scoring double figures with 12 points. Stansberry and Tennant added 11 points apiece, with 10 points from Luke Crowe.
Junior varsity contests at Polk County scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1, were postponed due to inclement weather. Avery hosted Madison earlier this week, travels to Polk County this Wednesday, Feb. 6, and hosts Mountain Heritage this Friday, Feb. 8.