Bay Rockets can't overcome slow start against Avon Eagles

BAY VILLAGE — The Bay Rockets dug themselves into an early hole, and spent the entire game trying to dig themselves out. Unfortunately for the Rockets, they weren’t able to ever quite catch up and fell to Avon 45-37 in West Shore Conference action.

“Avon came out and overwhelmed us a bit with their defensive pressure,” Bay coach Chris Brewer said. “They threw doubles at us, that we weren’t quite expecting, right off the bat. We did not execute very well.”

The Eagles pushed out to an early 8-0 lead, and then later extended it to an 11-2 lead to put the Rockets in a deep hole.

“The last few weeks, we’ve really been running the floor better. We’ve made an effort to work on it in practice,” Avon assistant coach Chad Partridge said. “All that work is now showing.”

After the rough start, Bay found its footing and finished the quarter on a 6-1 run to cut the Eagle lead to 12-8. It was a theme the whole game: Bay pulls with in a few points, only to watch Avon push the lead back out.

“Finally, after a couple minutes, we called timeout and calmed down,” Brewer said. “After that we did better on execution. We didn’t shoot the ball that well in the first quarter, but we climbed our way back in. It was then us spending the whole game trying to catch back up to them.”

The Eagles didn’t have one player put up huge numbers in the game but instead it was a collaborative effort that frustrated the Rockets all night.

Sophomore Brianna Conroy led all Avon scorers with nine points. Junior Payton Mitchell and freshman Alexandra Bjorn each added eight.

“We have a young team this year, and I think our girls are finding their identity,” Partridge said. “It was awesome to look at the scoreboard and see six, six, six and they’re all scoring and contributing.”

That may have been a bad omen for the Rockets, but it also meant they couldn’t key on one particular player. Instead the Eagles kept moving the ball around, allowing eight different players to score.

For the Rockets, though, senior captain Claire Werblak put her team on her back and carried them throughout the night. Werblak finished with a game-high 21 points along with seven rebounds.

“Claire hardly came out of the game tonight. She was dead tired, but there she was still in there out-rebounding kids that are six inches taller than her,” Brewer said. “She was fighting, going to the hole strong every single time. It was just a great effort by a senior captain and leader. She showed her character and showed our team how to take it to the next level.”

Werblak came up huge late in the game when it looked like Avon had finally put it away. With the Eagles leading by six with just 1:17 left in the game, Werblak drew a foul as she heaved up a three-point shot. She then hit all three free throws to cut the Avon lead in half.

The Eagles then turned the ball over and Werblak took a shot inside the paint, but it just wouldn’t fall.

“We’re down three, and Claire makes that drive to the hole, but it hit the rim three times and pops out,” Brewer said. “I told the team I was very proud of their effort. When it came down to the fourth quarter, it came down to two things that really cost us the game: free throws and execution.”

For a young Avon team, though, it was a step in the right direction.

“Obviously, we’re still a young team, but we’re battling,” Partridge said. “We’re playing hard defense, and that’s keeping us in it.”

Avon 45, Bay 37

West Shore Conference

AVON — Payton Mitchell 4-0 8, Kaitlin Neumann 2-1 5, Tina Petrillo 1-0 3, Catie Kelly 2-0 4, Brianna Conroy 3-3 9, Brianna Smith 1-0 2, Jessica Yurkovich 2-2 6, Alexandra Bjorn 3-2 8. TOTALS 18-8 45.

BAY — Megan Williams 1-0 3, Rachel Jerome 2-0 5, Lauren Heldt 0-4 4, Rachael Williams 1-0 3, Claire Werblak 6-7 21, Emma Grubaugh 0-1 1. TOTALS 10-12 37.

3-POINT GOALS — A: Petrillo B: M. Williams, Jerome, R. Williams, Werblak (2).

Score By Quarters

Avon 12 12 6 15 — 45

Bay 8 6 11 12 — 37

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Avon 18 of 45 (40 percent), Bay 10 of 45 (22 percent).

Free Throws — A 8 of 12 (67 percent), B 12 of 20 (60 percent).

Rebounds — A 30 (Mitchell 5), B 27 (leader Werblak 7).

Turnovers — A 13, B 12.

J.V. — Avon, 47-35.


Last Updated: 12/19/2012 11:20:23 PM EST

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