Missed opportunities from the field and the charity stripe helped doom the Avalon Black Knights as they fell to arch rival The Heights 55-50 despite a late rally.
The Heights Cavaliers led the entire game, at one stretch by 16 points as they won their third straight annual game against the Avalon Black Knights Friday night.
In a game eerily similar to that of last year the Cavaliers defense blocked many of Avalon’s shots, and the Black Knights failed to convert on several fouls by falling short at the free throw line. Tracy Johnson, the Black Knights leading scorer found it rough going from the field while Avalon big men Phil Corcoran and Berthin Mayo also had a tough time hauling in rebounds.
“We would have a man in position to make a rebound, but he would miss time his jump, so it would bounce off the ends of his hands, and keep it alive for a Heights player to rebound it. And that is a lay-up that we would not get,” said Black Knight head coach Kevin Davern.
That was the story of the game, as Avalon was unable to grab crucial rebounds, but also unable to convert looks in the post. Not only Corcoran and Mayo, but also Johnson, Rachid Ibrahim and Emmett Sloan had numerous opportunities under the basket, but none uncontested. The contested shots never got above the rim, and the Black Knights failed to get many second chance shots. The shots they had were as unsuccessful as the first.
For the second year in a row, the Black Knights missed double-digit free throws. Last year, they missed 18 and made 14. This year, they made 10 and left 16 at the stripe. “We had the chances. If we make just a few of those it would have been a completely different game.”
Still, Avalon was able to cut the lead to five in the fourth quarter with scrappy play from Ibrahim, Emmet Sloan and Zamir Courtney.
But, failure to convert on a couple of crucial free throws left Avalon in the unenviable position of following in the last-minute. The Heights managed to convert, and put the game away.
Tracy Johnson led the team with 12 points. Zamir Courtney had 11, Emmett Sloan had 9, and Bert Mayo had 8. Phil and Bert combined for only 9 rebounds, and Tracy and Emmett combined for three of ten from 3-point land. Isaiah Grogsby led the Heights with 14, Kyle Depoller had 13, and Austen Smith had 10.
Avalon will take on St. Andrews on Monday, and the Heights will take on Jefferson next Saturday.
Video Courtesy of MoCoVox.com