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The Ava Lady Bears were in Lebanon Tuesday for the start of the Central Bank Holiday Tournament. Behind a 25-point offering from senior Payton Lakey Ava defeated Richland 67-48 in the first-round game.
The Lady Bears, seeded third, will play No. 2 Bolivar at 2:30 this (Thursday) afternoon in semifinals action at Boswell Auditorium.
The championship game will be played at 2:30 Friday.
If Ava loses on Thursday, the Lady Bears would play at 1 o’clock Friday for 3rd place honors.
Ava trailed Richland 15-11 after one quarter Tuesday, but took up the slack and led 30-24 at halftime.
Ava continued to pull away in the second half, outscoring the Richland Bears 37-24 in the final two periods to reach the final margin of 67-48.
Senior center Jorie Garrett had 16 points for Ava and Bethany Horn added 10 points. Emily Sterling had nine points for Ava and Abbie Lansdown had seven points.
Jessica Hutton scored 19 for Richland and Emily Case had 15 points.
After this week’s tournament, Coach Clint Gazette and the Lady Bears will travel to West Plains on Monday night, Jan. 2, for three games, beginning with a freshman contest at 5 o’clock.
The junior varsity Lady Bears were also playing in a JV tournament at Lebanon this week. Tuesday and Wednesday action was in pool play, with the winners advancing to the championship on Friday in Carr Gym, adjacent to Boswell Auditorium.