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The Ava Bears took on Marshfield in the Blue and Gold Tournament at Springfield’s JQH Arena Monday night.
Although the Blue Jays were seeded second in the Gold Division, Coach Nathan Houk had his Bears ready to play, and they almost pulled off the upset, losing in overtime, 48-44. The Bears’ defense spoiled Marshfield’s game plan and kept the score under 50 points even with the additional four-minute period.
Ava led 8-1 with 2:50 remaining in the first period and held the Blue Jays to just three points in the opening stanza, leading 10-3 after one period.
Marshfield pulled ahead by three, 20-17 at halftime, but the teams were tied at 30 apiece after three quarters, and it was 41-all at the end of regulation.
Ava’s Zach Leonard, who led the Bears with 13 points, hit a big 3-point shot as the clock was running down in regulation to send the game to overtime.
Marshfield, which was whistled for two bench technicals during the game, played solid defense in the overtime period to escape with the win.
Others scoring for Ava on Monday night were Austin Gastineau 12, Kody Kutz 6, Kevin Philpott 5, Ben Loge 4 and Chase Dixon 4.
Blaine Armstrong had 15 points to lead Marshfield.
Marshfield moved on to play Spokane in quarterfinals action Tuesday night, while the Bears played Miller Tuesday night in the consolation bracket.
Marshfield slaughtered Spokane 61-20 and would play Republic at 8:30 Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Gold Division.
The Bears led Miller 19-13 at halftime on Tuesday, and went on to beat the Cardinals 46-33.
That earned the Bears the right to play at 2 o’clock Wednesday afternoon at Hammons Student Center against Springfield Greenwood, which had defeated Crane 59-56 on Tuesday night. The Bears took Greenwood to overtime, but lost the game 55-44.
Ava made a miraculous comeback in the final minute of play to tie the game at the end of regulation.
Down five points, Zach Leonard sank a 3-point shot to pull the Bears within two.
After a Greenwood foul and a missed free throw by Ava, Kevin Philpott got the rebound and put the ball back in at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Next action for the Bears will be Friday, Jan. 6, at Morrisville against Marion C. Early. That will be a three-game affair, starting with the 9th grade game at 5 o’clock.