News-Sun photo by DAN HOEHNE Gus Owens totaled 22 points on the night, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Wildcats Thursday.
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published: Sunday, December 09, 2012
fall to Wildcats
By DAN HOEHNE
AVON PARK - Some short tempers got the better of a few Red Devils in a recent game, leaving the team shorthanded for the time being.
But even so, a hustling and never-say-die squad fought tooth-and-nail Thursday night before coming up short against visiting Hardee, 59-50.
Avon Park, in fact, broke out to an early 10-5 lead when, after a Keyon Brown three-point play opened the scoring, Gus Owens hit a baseline jumper and Travis Lawton canned one from the top of the key.
Brown muscled inside for another deuce, but Lawton drove with his left, Racarus Burley buried a three from the corner and Owens split a pair at the line.
But the rest of the opening eight minutes went all the Wildcats way, with Brown powering inside for seven points and Lucious Everett scoring twice in the paint, for an 11-0 run to put Hardee up 16-10.
And though the first quarter didn't exactly set the scoreboard spinning, the second stanza saw it come to a complete standstill as neither team could alter the score over the first three minutes.
That was finally broken at the 4:42 mark, when Owens hit one-of-two at the line.
That was quickly followed by a three-pointer from Wildcat Steve Metayer, who soon hit one at the line as well.
Burley would get Avon Park's next scores at the line, hitting two free throws, though the Devils would miss their next three at the charity stripe.
But Tevien Chambers made up for those misses with a three-pointer from the wing.
Metayer and Everett would both get scores inside for Hardee, but Burley drove the lane for two and Owens converted on a three-point play just before the half to close the gap to 24-21.
Owens then got the charge going early in the third when, after a Metayer score, he drove for two and then stepped into the passing lane for a steal and score.
The 'Cats answered with Brown wreaking havoc inside with consecutive follows and Metayer got a put-back himself to push the lead back out to 32-25.
But John Mason hit from downtown for Avon Park, cutting it to 32-28.
Mark Elsberry scored on a finger roll, but Owens got a steal, score and foul, connecting on the freebie, and it was suddenly 34-31.
Brown scored on yet another follow, but Burley canned a trey in the waning moments and it was a 36-34 game heading into the final eight minutes.
Owens quickly tied it with a jumper to open the fourth, though Brown was at it again on the inside, corralling a rebound and banking one in off the glass.
Owens tied it again with a pair of free throws, only to see Derrick Graham get inside for two.
One more time, Owens would knot the score at 40-40, getting out on the break.
But that would be the last time the Devils would see a share of the lead.
Wildcat point guard Kane Casso chose this time to heat up and would connect on three three-pointers down the stretch.
Burley would hit two of his own to keep things close for a bit, but another key offensive rebound and score from Brown all but put it out of reach.
"They were just too much on the offensive glass," assistant coach John Beck said. "The kids hustled and played hard the whole night, which is all you can ask for. But we've got to do a much better job in boxing out and getting rebounds."
Avon Park will host Lake Placid in a district and cross-county battle Tuesday.
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