Injuries catch up to Avon in tournament loss to Bristol Central
AVON - Two weeks ago Avon girls basketball coach Frank Waters really felt he had a contender on his hands. After Monday night, he's left to think about what could have been.
After a gutsy showing in the NCCC Tournament, injuries finally caught up to the Falcons and proved costly as No. 26 Bristol Central rolled to a 52-26 victory over No. 7 Avon in a Class L state tournament first-round matchup at Avon High.
The Rams advance to a second-round meeting with No. 10 Farmington on Thursday night in Farmington. The Indians, who won the CCC West during the regular season, moved on with a 62-46 triumph over No. 23 Middletown.
Avon entered the Class L tournament seeded seventh after an 18-2 regular season. But those Falcons had the services of point guard Anna Schrecengost and center Abby Laszewski, both of whom were out of action Monday night.
Schrecengost suffered a knee injury in the NCCC Tournament and Laszewski was out Monday night and also missed the NCCC Final with a foot injury. Without their two leading scorers, the Falcons just didn't have enough firepower.
"When you take your two leading scorers out of the equation it makes it really tough," Waters said. "Give Bristol Central credit, they played well and we just couldn't hit shots tonight and when you have as much trouble scoring as we did it is tough to win the ballgame.'
Bristol Central went on a 12-3 run to close out the first quarter and take a 17-8 lead. Avon then held Bristol Central to five points in the second quarter, but could not take advantage, scoring just five itself as the Rams led 22-13 at the break.
Any hopes of a Falcons comeback were dashed in the third quarter as the Rams went on an 11-0 run to take a 33-13 lead. Avon did not even score until nearly six minutes were gone in the third when sophomore Michaela Marcus hit a free throw to make it 33-14.
Marcus scored a career-high 27 points for Avon (20-4) in the NCCC title game but was limited to just seven Monday night. The Rams came out in a box-and-one on Marcus and were determined to make someone else beat them and no Falcon could.
While Avon had all kinds of trouble on the offensive end, Bristol Central had a balanced attack led by center Chandler Walker with 17 points. Erika Monsalve scored 12 points, Lauren Bossi had 10 and Ashley Elder added eight for the
It was a tough loss and a tough way to end the season for Waters and the Falcons, especially when things were going so well just a short time ago. A win in the regular-season finale over Granby clinched a share of the NCCC regular-season title and the season also included a win over eventual Naugatuck Valley League champ Torrington on the road.
"About 10 days ago I thought we had a great chance to do something special this season," Waters said. "I really think we could have made a run in the state tournament but the injuries caught up to us and were too much to overcome."
Despite the loss, things look good for the Falcons going forward. Colleen Norton is the lone senior on this year's squad and Schrecengost and Olivia Welter should be back from injuries along with Laszewski, who had a breakout freshman season giving the Falcons a shot-blocking presence on defense and an effective post scorer inside.
"It was a great season, they accomplished a lot and I am really proud of them," Waters said. "We'll have everyone back except Colleen and hopefully we'll be ready to go. Hopefully next year will be our year."