Lady Gryphons fall to Avery
For the second consecutive game, the Thomas Jefferson Lady Gryphons fell victim to long runs by their opponent and a lack of depth as they fell to Avery, 81-27, Thursday night at Cool Springs Gym.
“It’s tough on the team right now because some of our best players are overseas and won’t be back until the beginning of the year,” said assistant coach Brian Espinoza. “It’s tough to stay confident but we have to keep fighting mentally and physically.”
According to Espinoza, the absence of Anna Dedmon in particular, hurts the Lady Gryphons.
“Anna is the cog of this team. She is what makes this team go,” he said. “Without her everything falls apart and that’s what happened tonight.”
Things did indeed fall apart early as Avery (7-3, 2-0 WHC) opened the game on a 10-2 run. Bre Heaton hit two 3-pointers during that stretch with the only TJCA (3-4, 0-2 WHC) bucket coming on a Victoria Bennett.
That lead expanded to 25-2 as Avery drilled four more shots from beyond the arc in the quarter, two of which came from Heaton. Rachel Tevis broke the streak with a jumper but Avery still held a commanding 27-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was eerily similar to the first. The Lady Vikings opened the frame on a 10-2 run with the only bucket coming from Bennett.
TJCA also continued to struggle bring the ball up the floor as Avery forced a turnover on nearly every possession. The Lady Vikings turned those miscues into easy baskets and a 46-10 halftime lead.
The offense picked up slightly coming out of the locker room for TJCA.
Thomas Jefferson got baskets from Brianna Kale and Tevis. That short burst was not nearly enough to keep up with Avery as they stretched their lead to 62-14 midway through the quarter.
Alyssa Edwards knocked down a 3-pointer and Bennett scored four straight points to close out the quarter but the home team still trailed 67-21.
The final frame belonged to the subs for both teams. Alethia Griffin scored four of the six points for TJCA and Autumn Ruppe had the other basket as to account for the 81-27 final.
Bennett led TJCA with 8 points while Heaton led a balanced Avery attack with 13 points.
TJCA will take a short break before opening play in the Bud Black/ Dennis Tate Holiday Classic on Dec. 27 in Cherryville where they are slated to face Bessemer City at 1 p.m.