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The Ava Lady Bears were tied with Kennett with 2½ minutes left in the third quarter last Wednesday night, and Ava trailed by only one point heading into the fourth quarter of the state sectional game at the West Plains Civic Center.
But the Lady Bears were unable to score when they needed to against the big Kennett girls, and fell in defeat, 50-43.
The loss ended the Lady Bears’ season with a record of 24-6.
The difference in the game was on the boards where Kennett out-rebounded Ava 34-23, and more importantly on offensive rebounds where Kennett pulled down 14. Most of those were converted to baskets.
“They shot three or four times until they made it,” Ava’s Coach Clint Gazette said.
Jorie Garrett led Ava with 14 points and five rebounds in the state sectional game. Senior guard Kristen Hastings had 11 points and also had five rebounds, as well as three steals.
Payton Lakey scored 10 points and also had five rebounds for Ava.
Rounding out the Ava scoring were Bethany Horn with six points and three rebounds and Melissa Coonts with two points and four rebounds.
Kennett shot over 40 percent from the floor but converted only four of 14 free throws. Ava, on the other hand, made 16 of 22 free throws, but shot only 29.5 percent from the floor.
Recapping the season, the Lady Bears outscored their opponents by almost 10 points per game, averaging 50.9 points to the opponents’ 41.1 points per game.
Lakey was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.4 points per game, with Garrett on her heals at 14 ppg.
Garrett averaged 8.2 rebounds per game with Lakey at 6.7, and a most impressive statistic is Lakey’s 110 blocked shots on the year, for an average of almost four per game.
There are only two seniors – Hastings and Kayley Watson — on this Lady Bears team, so Coach Gazette has to feel good about next year.