Gryphons dominated by Avery
Anything that could go wrong for Thomas Jefferson in their matchup with Avery on Thursday night did go wrong.
The visiting Vikings (4-6, 1-1WHC) used a patient offense and a stifling defense to neutralize the Gryphons (3-4, 1-1 WHC) speed while a 28-2 run that lasted from the opening tip until midway through the second quarter allowed them to cruise to a 61-24 win.
“There are a lot of reasons why we lost tonight,” said coach Ken Hines. “The kids weren’t focused because they didn’t have classes and that broke the normal routine...and Avery had a good game plan and they executed it well. That doesn’t bother me so much because you can’t control those things. What bothers me is the way we played. We didn’t pass the ball well and we weren’t very patient. It just wasn’t a good night."
That fact became apparent from the opening tip as Avery began the game on a 7-0 run thanks to two baskets from Dylan Bauer.
The Vikings then slowed the game considerably and still held that 7-0 lead at the 3:28 mark. The Gryphons offense was also hampered by the fact that Efrim Borders got into early foul trouble while the Viking defense was able to contain the Thomas Jefferson dribble penetration.
As a result, TJCA’s first basket came on a Nick Mintz jumper, but the visitors finished the quarter on a 10-0 run, six of which came from James Stewart. Those runs pushed Avery to a 17-2 advantage after the first quarter.
Avery began the second quarter on an 11-0 run that ended on a Kaleb Mujas basket, but by that time the 28-4. Nathaniel Devon tried to bring his team back with two free-throw line jumpers, but Stewart and the rest of the Vikings kept the bulge at 20. Avery’s Daniel Childress hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the halftime score 35-12.
Avery’s Shea Buchanan hit a 3-pointer to start the third quarter while a lid seemed to be on the basket for TJCA did not come until the 1:08 mark of the frame, Truth Freeland three. That was the only TJCA points of the quarter as they trailed 41-15
The fourth quarter was more of the same. Avery continued to pull away behind Stewart. Borders fouled out and the TJCA offense stayed stagnant.
Justus Freeland did hit two 3-pointers late in the game however to account for the 61-24 final.
Despite the lopsided loss, Hines remains optimistic.
“All the mistakes we made tonight we can work on,” he said. “These kids have worked so hard this year to get better and I know they will continue to work hard. I am very proud of that. They deserve a break to be with family and friends at Christmas, but I know they will come back and be ready to play.”
After that break TJCA will also participate in the Cherryville Tournament. The Gryphons are set to face the host Ironmen at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 27.