News-Sun photo by LAUREN WELBORN Gar DeMarest and Travis Lawton battle for this rebound in Friday's typically heated Avon Park, Sebring matchup.
published: Sunday, January 06, 2013
Red Devils rally for rivalry win
By LAUREN WELBORN
AVON PARK - Being the second oldest rivalry in the state, any matchup between Avon Park and Sebring is sure to see some sparks flying.
Such was the case Friday night as the Red Devils boys basketball team hosted the Blue Streaks, earning some redemption after a loss during the Taveniere Tournament by rising to the top and earning a 55-51 victory.
Approaching the second half, Avon Park was trailing 10 points behind Sebring.
Red Devil Alfred Brown contributed the first successful shot of the half, putting two of his 17 points of the night on the board.
After some neck-and-neck action, the score was 31-27, still in Sebring's favor.
Travis Lawton made an impressive block, but before he could run the ball back Blue Streak Gary DeMarest came up with a steal.
As the crowds got heated, so did the players as Lawton stole the ball right back, coming up with one foul shot to put the board at 31-28.
Again, back-to-back steals resulted in Avon Park points, this time with a layup from Red Devil Gus Owens.
Sebring point leader, Quantene Rouse, scored the last points for the third quarter, which ended 34-29 in the visiting teams' favor.
As the intensity continued, Avon Park's Recarus Burley was left wide open to drain a three-pointer, tying the game at 38.
With the stands roaring and the crowds on their feet, it was like a scene from a movie; either side rising to their feet, chanting for their own and against the other, all in good fun to lift the spirits of their favorite team.
This encouragement seemed to benefit Avon Park a little more, as they soon took the lead.
Of course, this wasn't without a fight from Sebring, as the score was 49-47 in Avon Park's favor with half a minute to go.
In a game of mostly foul shots at this point, Avon Park held tight to finalize their 55-51 win at the buzzer.
"They wanted to protect their home court," said Avon Park head coach Marty O'Hora. "We still need to work on not missing the easy shots, but they did a great job."
Despite holding the lead for the majority of the game, Sebring head coach Princeton Harris told his boys not to be too discouraged.
"The boys fought through adversity, and I'm still proud."
The Devils are back in action Tuesday, hosting Tampa Catholic, while Sebring returns to District play Tuesday at Kathleen.
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