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Big tests this week for Falcons basketball team

AVON, Feb. 2 – After beginning the season by losing four of its first five games against some challenging competition, the Avon High basketball team can take a big step toward its second NCCC championship in three years with a pair of victories this week over Somers on Tuesday and against undefeated Canton (11-0, 6-0 NCCC) on Friday night in Avon.

The Falcons (8-4, 6-0 NCCC) fell to Bristol Central, Farmington, Northwest Catholic and Springfield Commerce in December and they returned just one starter from last year’s team.

But since they began play against NCCC teams, the Falcons have won seven in a row, most by a comfortable margin. A 17-10 fourth quarter rally fueled a three-point win over Stafford, 53-50 in the closest game in the winning streak.

Senior guard Joe Ives has been the most consistent offensive player. He had a season-high 24 points, including four 3-point goals, in a 60-53 win over Enfield on Jan. 23. Forward Zak Blawie, center Lambert Givens and forward Austin Kick have each had games when they have stood out.

Givens had 15 points on Friday in a 68-55 win over Tolland, Kick had 13 points in a 75-55 win over East Windsor while Blawie had 10 in a 70-47 win over Granby.

Due to the snow, the Falcons played just one game last week with a 55-36 victory over Coventry on Friday night. A 19-8 run in the third quarter was the difference for the Falcons. Ives scored a game-high 13 points while Givens added 12.

The Falcons’ last conference title came two years ago in 2007 when they ran the table in the league, going 13-0. They also shared conference titles in 2005, 2003 and 2002.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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