SOUTHINGTON - The Southington boys basketball team saved its best performance of the night for the end.
It just turned out to be a little too late.
Down by 10 with eight minutes left in the game, the Southington had its best stretch in the last 24 minutes. Adam Hunter, Andrew Lohneiss and Jeremy Mercier were able to score to ignite a 6-0 run, getting the Blue Knights within four.
Unfortunately for Southington, that was as close as the team would get in the 59-47 loss to Avon Thursday night.
“We were fired up,” Lohneiss said. “We started to hit shots so it fueled us a little bit. But obviously it wasn’t enough.”
Mercier and Lohneiss led the Blue Knights with 13 points each while Colin Burdette had nine.
Avon’s Jordan Williams ended Southington’s run as he hit his fifth and final 3 of the evening. Williams proved difficult to stop at times. He scored a game-high 24 points.
The Blue Knights have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. Southington has its 5-game win streak snapped on Monday to Simsbury before falling to Avon.
“Every game is a tough game,” Southington head coach John Cressario said. “When you have something as good as [Avon] with a good perimeter game, and three scorers who can go for 20 a night, you have to play perimeter defense. Unfortunately, they got some very, very good looks on us.”
Outside of Williams, Charlie Reiss contributed 13 points for the Falcons with Marek Cierniewski adding eight. In total, Avon hit seven 3s, five coming from Williams.
Both teams also fell into foul trouble going into the remaining minutes. It just happened to hurt the Blue Knights more. Southington had 10, giving up 16 points in the last half, while Avon had nine, giving up three points.
The game didn’t start out as bad as how it ended
Southington carried a lead for the first eight minutes with Mercier scoring five of the Blue Knights’ nine points in the first quarter.
“We knew that [Avon] was a tough team and that we were going to have to play hard,” Lohneiss said. “We obviously didn’t execute to the best of our abilities today.”
Williams, though, came out in the second quarter with the hot hand. He shot back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers to give Avon a 6-point lead. The Falcons went on to control the game from there.
“[Wednesday], all we did was try and guard the perimeter with our defensive sets in practice,” Cessario said. “That is exactly what we saw today. We saw four guards with a big fellow in the middle that basically played the perimeter. What we wanted to do was at least keep them outside of the 3-point line. But that doesn’t mean give them open looks and unfortunately, we did that.”
Lohneiss added to the Blue Knights’ score with a 3-pointer at the end of the half, but Avon kept its lead and at the break, the Falcons led 28-20.
Avon opened up the third quarter with a 7-0 run, but the Blue Knights were able to break it with a basket from Tim O'Shea and a 3-pointer from Lohneiss, allowing Southington to cut the deficit to 10.
“In the first half our defense wasn’t really there,” Burdette said. “In the second half, we were just trying to come from behind. [Avon] was just too far ahead of us.”
Added Mercier, “In the second half when we tried to make a run, they stopped it real quick so it was hard to get anything [going].”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org