AVON — The Avon Braves had a 28-13 lead at halftime and their effort offensively and defensively looked to have them well on pace to capture their first win of the year. But, an inspired Geneseo team came out in the second half and overcome the large deficit to defeat the Braves 49-46.
The Blue Devils did not score their first points of the second half till 4:20 left in the third quarter, on two free throws from returning starting forward Elton Johnson. Johnson’s free throws, along with center Sam Lofquist’s three-pointer at the end of the quarter left the Blue Devils down five, 36-31.
In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils were down 10, 43-33, but the offense and defense tightened up allowing the Blue Devils to take the lead and hang on for the victory.
Blue Devils head coach Brian Stout applauded his team’s effort and comeback in the second half.
“We were getting outworked, all the respect to Avon, they kicked our butts in the first half,” Stout said. “They beat us to every loose ball, every offensive rebound and we knew we had to show up and start playing some basketball. We put our defensive pressure on like we do, and we attacked the basket and got some easier buckets in the second half.”
Stout also talked about his team’s adjustments on offensive, after a litany of turnovers in the first half.
“We got aggressive against their defense,” Stout said. “First half, we allowed their pressure to move us away from the basket and in the second half we attacked their pressure.”
Stout also acknowledged Lofquist’s, who finished the night with 17 points.
“He came up really big for us down the stretch,” he said. “He was one of the ones we had to get fired up, he was a little flat-footed in the first half, but he woke up big time.”
Lofquist believed that as a senior, he had to pick up his play in the second half.
“Coach says, ‘Who wants to step up?’ at halftime, so as the senior on the team and team captain I felt that definitely had to be me, so I brought it upon myself and made sure it got it done,” Lofquist said.
Both Stout and Lofquist believe that the early season road comeback will build momentum for the rest of the season.
“I think this will definitely help us as we push forward,” Lofquist said.
“We had our heads hanging at halftime and we had to pick them up and we told them ‘We’ve been down bigger before and came back and won,'” Stout said. “I’ve got to coach these guys on JV and move up with them, so I’ve had them for four years and one thing they don’t do is quit.”
Geneseo (2-0) plays next against Warsaw at home. The game is a week from this Friday at 7:30. Avon (0-1) will play at home against Letchworth on Friday at 7:30.