Ava struggled offensively all night, with credit going to a strong West Plains defense. The Ava girls trailed 11-1 after one period and the halftime score was West Plains 21, Jorie Garrett 7, with Garrett scoring two field goals and three free throws in the first half.
Ava finally put some points on the scoreboard in the third period, but Coach Clint Gazette was never able to get the offense in sync.
Garrett finished with 12 points on the night, and Payton Lakey, who was playing sick, scored only five points in the game. Emily Sterling added four points and Bethany Horn had three marks for Ava.
Andi Haney had 23 points for West Plains, including 15 of 16 free throws.
The Zizzers improved their record to 18-2, with one of those losses coming to Ava on Jan. 2 at West Plains. Their other loss was to Springfield Kickapoo.
This is the second year in a row that the Lady Bears have lost to West Plains in the finals of the Reeds Spring Invitational.
The Ava gals pulled it back together for the SCA game here Monday night against Mtn. Grove, chalking up a 66-34 victory in the ladies’ side of the Route 66 Showdown sponsored by Town & Country Bank.
Lakey, feeling much better, led the team with 22 points, seven rebounds, six blocked shots and four steals. Garrett had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and point guard Abbie Lansdown had an outstanding performance with 15 points on the night.
Horn had a solid game with six points, and Coach Gazette said Emily Sterling was “a stopper” on defense, as well as contributing three points. Erica Croney also had two points for Ava.
Sophomore guard Ashlyn Rogers led the Lady Panthers with nine points.
The win over Mtn. Grove boosts the Lady Bears to 4-0 in conference play and 15-5 overall.
Willow Springs will be here tonight (Thursday) for a South Central Association encounter and the girls will play at Norwood on Feb. 6.