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The Ava Middle School Bears opened play in the Willow Springs tournament on Monday, January 3.
The seventh grade Bears lost to Mountain Grove by a score of 30-23.
Ava trailed the Panthers 7-5 after the first quarter and trailed 18-9 at halftime.
The Bears closed the gap to 5 points at 24-19 after three quarters of play but could not catch the Panthers in the final period of play.
Ava’s leading scorer was Morgan Smith with 9 points, followed by Caleb McFarlin with 4 points. Zach Hunsaker and Colton Overcast scored 3 points each; Austin Potts and Dakota Pierce chipped in 2 points each to complete the scoring for the Bears.
The eighth grade Bears defeated Willow Springs 35-25.
Ava led 10-2 early in the game but Willow Springs cut the Ava lead to 12-9 by halftime. Ava held a one-point advantage after three quarters of play at 16-15.
Ava pushed the lead to 10 points midway through the final period and put the game away at the free throw line by making 7 of 11 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
Tristan Haltom led the scoring for Ava with 20 points, followed by Cody Huff with 7 points. John Luebbering’s 4 points, 3 points from Derrick Bushong, and one point from Colton Akers rounded out the scoring for Ava.
Tournament play in both divisions will continue throughout the week. Semifinals will be played on Friday, January seventh.
Ava’s eighth grade will play Mountain Grove at 7:00 p.m. Third place and championship games will be played on Saturday, January 8.