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The Ava Bears are on their way to an undefeated conference title if they can get past Houston this Friday night.
The Bears played host to Willow Springs last Friday night and Thayer on Tuesday, claiming SCA wins on both accounts.
On Friday night the Bears jumped out to a 14-5 lead in the first quarter and used a stingy defense to control play the rest of the game, winning 37-22. Ava led 16-8 at halftime.
The Bears, which have been scoring much better at the free throw line of late, converted 6-of-6 against Willow Springs.
Zach Leonard led the Bears with 10 points and Chase Dixon connected on three 3-point buckets for a total on nine points on the night.
Ben Loge, Austin Gastineau and Kevin Philpott each had six points to complete Ava’s scoring.
Joe Chilton led Willow Springs with eight points.
Tuesday night was Senior Night at the Ava gym, and because of snow on Monday, the night would consist of varsity play against Thayer in both boys’ and girls’ action.
The Bears took the court for the nightcap following Senior Night activities and held off the Bobcats for a 45-30 conference win.
Both Ava and Thayer entered the game undefeated in conference play, each at 5-0 in league.
The Bears fell behind early but picked up the pace and trailed by just two points, 18-16 at halftime. Ava took the lead for the first time at 7:08 in the third period on a 3-point basket by Zach Leonard, and continued to pull away down the stretch.
Ava spread its lead to 10 points in the final period, and the Bobcats had to foul to have a chance. The Bears hit only three of 10 at the line, but the shots fell when they had to and the Bears came away with the 15-point win.
Coach Nathan Houk said it was outstanding defensive play by his Bears, as well as consistent scoring, that led to the win over a very good Thayer ball team.
Leonard led the Bears with 17 points and Gastineau added 16. Loge had 10 points and Philpott had 2.
Austin Henry had 12 points for Thayer.
Ava completes the SCA schedule at Houston this Friday night, then will face Seymour and Mansfield on Feb. 20 and 24 on the road in non-conference play before starting districts the following week.