Elyria— With under ten seconds left, Avon junior Amari Davidson inbounded the ball just over the half court line with the game tied at 33 in the Elyria district semifinal game against the Amherst Comets.
Without hesitation, Davidson got the ball to sophomore Elizabeth Flynn. Taking six hard dribbles to the free throw line, Flynn completed a staggering crossover that landed her on the right elbow.
It was a basic driveway shot, with no one in front of her. The only difference, of course, being the pressure of the moment.
— Ashley Bastock (@AshleyBastock42) March 2, 2017
With that textbook perfect shot, the Avon Eagles completed what is possibly the upset of the tournament so far, knocking of the No. 1 seeded Comets, 35-33.
“I just had an opening so I went for it, and it went in,” Flynn said following the heart-pounding final seconds.
“I almost passed it, but I knew that I just had to shoot it. And I’m just so happy right now. It feels great,” she continued.
“We wanted to get the ball to Elizabeth Flynn, because she’s a phenomenal shooter, and we said everybody clear out. And she made the shot when she needed to,” head coach Meghan Larrick said. “I hope that’s something she’ll remember for the rest of her life.”
“I can’t express how proud I am of these girls. We’ve had a rough season. I mean, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we talked about perseverance and continuing to battle every single time.”
And battle they did. For the Avon Eagles, Wednesday night’s game was everything they needed. It was a knock-down defensive battle all night, and the Eagles did not gain a lead in the game until there was just 1:47 remaining in the fourth quarter when junior Maggie Beatty made a crucial layup that gave them a 33-32 lead.
Along with contributing that key lay-in, Beatty also had the difficult assignment of guarding Amherst standout Sydney Roule for most of the game. Roule finished the night with an uncharacteristically low 12 points, and Larrick said that Beatty’s defense was perhaps the most important contributing factor to their win.
“She went out there and she battled and she played great defense. I know it’s not going to show up in the box score, but Maggie Beatty today was definitely our MVP,” she said.
“I was just trying to stay in front of her and not foul her, because the first half she got four points off of me fouling,” Beatty said. “I was just trying to play good defense.”
While it was the perfect ending for Avon, it was anything but for Amherst. Jayla Hall finished the night with 13 points and Katie Iliff added eight to go along with Roule’s 12. And while it wasn’t the ending they hoped for, Roule said the Comets still had plenty to be proud of this season.
“Our record was 19-5. It sucks our season had to end like this, but we played our heart out, my teammates played their hearts out and that’s all I had to ask for,” Roule said.
Avon had a more balanced scoring attack than the Comets. Seven girls got points up on the board for the Eagles compared to just three for Amherst, the leading scorers being Flynn, Davidson and Juliann Walker with seven points apiece.
This was the third time the Eagles faced off against the Comets this season. In both previous match-ups, Amherst won 73-60 and 55-31, respectively. Knowing how well Amherst can score the basketball likely led to Avon’s tough defensive effort this time around.
And while this season has been a struggle at times, the Eagles now find themselves in the same position they were this time last season—playing for a district title.
Avon will face off against the Olmsted Falls Bulldogs on Friday at 7 PM at Elyria Catholic in the district finals.