There is an old saying in that in basketball, you live and die by the free-throw line.
For Avon, the free-throw line is what made the difference as the Eagles scored a 48-39 win over Fairview.
The win kept the Eagles, (11-4, 8-1 West Shore Conference) on pace for a WSC showdown with Rocky River on Wednesday Rocky River is undefeated in conference play.
"We are trying to come out each game and learn a few new things and continue to build on what we have done so far," Avon coach Meghan Banks said. "We want to continue to see improvement and we just try to go out each day and build on that."
Banks' young team can build off what they did from the charity stripe in the final quarter, because without the efforts, the outcome could have been different. Avon went 7-for-7 from the line, including hitting six in row by Emily Julius and Mackenzie Brua.
This was after the Warriors pulled within five, 42-37, after an NBA-like three pointer from Kayla Iwais with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
"They were very aggressive and they wanted this game," Banks said of Fairview. " We weren't executing and we weren't finishing. Fairview did a great job of rebounding the basketball and forcing us to get outside shots."
Iwais' basket was the last points Fairview would get, as Avon's defense stiffened up after Banks called timeout with 1:51 left in the game.
"We were a little disappointed with our defense, maybe a little lackadaisical," Julius, who had a team high 16 points said. "But we ran the floor extremely well, we got a lot of open looks, Natalie (Wilden) did a nice job of moving the ball up and Mackenzie (Brua) did a nice job running the floor."
For a quarter, it appeared as if the game was going to be a blowout. Utilizing five different scorers, including six from Brianne Kistler, the Eagles jumped out to a 15-6 lead and Fairview seemed baffled. They extended it to 19-8 with 5:37 left until half, but then the Warriors held Avon without a basket for nearly three minutes until Brua, who had 15 points, put one in to make it a 21-14 game.
"Fairview did a really good job of attacking the basket and exposing us a little bit," Banks said. "But the girls didn't give up. I'm very happy with what they have done so far. They continue to work hard each day, come in with a championship mentality and if we continue to do that, its going to be exciting the next couple of years."
Although they won the game, the Eagles may have lost a key component of their offense, as Kistler, who had 12 points, went down hard with 2:13 left in the game. Grabbing her ankle in pain, the senior was helped off the court.