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The Ava Bears picked up their first win of the 2011-12 basketball season Monday night to advance in the Mansfield Invitational Tournament.
Ava defeated the host Mansfield Lions 58-39 to even their season mark at 1-1.
The Bears saw a double-digit first half lead fade to four points with two minutes left in the second quarter. But with a few adjustments the Ava team was able to pull away and expand on the lead in the second half.
“We learned from the mistakes we made in the first game,” Coach Nathan Houk said, referring to last week’s loss at Spokane.
By utilizing full-court and half-court defensive pressure the Bears were able to force Mansfield to turn the ball over.
Coach Houk said 16 offensive rebounds for his Bears made the difference in the game. The Bears also had 18 defensive rebounds.
The Bears were 12-of-16 at the line, as well.
Zach Leonard led the Bears with 19 points and nine rebounds. Ben Loge had 15 points and seven rebounds and Kevin Philpott had nine points and eight rebounds.
Austin Gastineau had 11 points, two steals and four assists for the Bears.
Sophomores Cooper Emerich and Brandon Guengerich came off the bench to give the team some quality play time, as well. Emerich had two points for the Bears and Coach Houk said Guengerich’s defensive play was a contributing factor in the win.
The Bears, seeded fourth in the tournament, will play top-seed Norwood in semifinals action tonight (Thursday) at 6 o’clock.
Finals will be played on Saturday with games at 3, 4:30, 6 o’clock and the championship at 7:30 p.m.
The Bears will be home next week, playing Hartville on Tuesday night and Rogersville on Friday night.