AVON, Feb. 12, 2021 – In previous years, the gym at Avon High School would have been packed for a Friday night basketball game between Avon and rival Farmington. Student sections from both schools would have been roaring through the game.
But this is 2021. We’re living through a pandemic. The high school basketball season started nearly eight weeks late and everyone in the gym was wearing a mask. Fewer than 20 parents were in the stands.
When players took foul shots, it was eerily quiet. There was no noise at all. No one said a word.
“We told (our players) at halftime, you have to create your own energy and the seniors brought it,” Avon High coach Kris Pedra said. “That is what seniors do.”
The Falcons outscored Farmington, 17-9 in the final 6:27 of the game to beat the Indians, 58-50 in a CCC Region B contest and claim the Taft Cup trophy, which goes to the winner of each Farmington and Avon contest.
Senior Jack Hall had eight of Avon’s final 17 points. Hall had a game-high 22 points while Will Soucier added 11. Tyler Brokenshire had nine points.
“We talk about playing with juice and energy but this was a flat Avon vs. Farmington game,” Pedra said. “There was no juice in the gym. There was no noise and we couldn’t get it going.”
Avon (1-1) didn’t shoot the basketball particularly well nor did they rebound well. But in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line, it was the Falcons pulling down some key rebounds, creating some havoc on defense and picking up a few steals.
“It certainly wasn’t our best basketball game,” Pedra said. “When the game ended, I thought that we must be a good basketball team because we won and didn’t play anywhere near our best.”
Avon senior Will Soucier said, “It was a good team win. We executed today. Everyone did their part.”
Farmington (0-2) received 11 points each from Jacob Smith and Nico Augustino along with nine points from Jordan Anthony.
“These guys like to compete,” Farmington coach Jeff Daddio said. “It’s always a close game (with Avon) and it’s always a battle. It’s exactly what we expected. They played their hearts out.”
Avon jumped out to an early 11-4 lead only to see the Indians rip off seven straight points to tie the game at 11-11. The Indians had a three-point lead with 38 seconds left in the first half only to see Emmett Bernstein sink a foul shot and Brokenshire sink a three-point shot with six seconds remaining to give the Falcons a 28-27 halftime lead.
Some good rebounding helped Farmington take an early three-point lead in the third quarter only to see Avon go on a 10-3 run and a 38-35 lead sparked by drives to the basket from Hall, Brokenshire and Soucier.
Farmington tied the game at 48-48 with 2:21 remaining on a foul shot from Jacob Smith. But Hall hit two free throws with 2:13 left to extend the lead to two points. Hall’s jumper that hit the rim and rolled in with 1:07 remaining extended the lead to four and he scored again with 42.8 seconds left as the lead swelled to six points.
After intercepting a Farmington pass, it was Soucier sinking two free throws with 27 seconds remaining to extend the lead to eight points, 56-48. Farmington didn’t score a field goal in the final 3:37 of the game.
“We have some work to do the offensive end but we ask for effort and they gave 100 percent,” Daddio said. “As a coach, I have to be proud of that.”
Avon returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to New Britain to face the Hurricanes beginning at 6:45 p.m. With no visiting fans allowed in area gymnasiums, Avon fans can watch the game on New Britain’s own YouTube channel. You can find a link on the New Britain High website on the day of the game.
Farmington hits the hardwood again on Wednesday when they host at 6:45 p.m.
Avon 58, Farmington 50
Farmington (50) Jordan Anthony 3-2-9, Christian Harris 1-2-, Jacob Schaedler 0-0-0, Nicholas Duncan 4-0-8, Jacob Smith 3-4-11, David Corbin 0-0-0, Nico Augustino 3-4-11, Ricky Podgorski 1-0-3, Chad Rizzo 1-0-2, Jared Young 1-0-2. Totals 17-12-50
Avon (58) Jack Hall 7-8-22, Will Soucier 4-3-11, Ben Angus 2-0-5, Issac Aguilar 3-0-6, Tyler Brokenshire 2-4-9, Cameron Dawiczyk 0-0-0, Aarsh Moza 1-0-2, Emmett Borenstein 1-1-3, Andrew Pederson 0-0-0. Totals 16-13-58
Farmington (0-2) 11 16 8 15 – 50
Avon (1-1) 13 15 10 20 — 58
Three-point goals: Anthony (F), Smith (F), Augustino (F), Podgorski (F); Angus (A), Brokenshire (A)
Watch the game