After the crowning of the 2009 courtwarming queen, Sara Riley, the Thayer Bobcats locked up with the Ava Bears in a what turned out to be a challenging South Central Association battle Feb. 13.
And when the dust settled, the Cats improved to 16-3 and 5-0 in SCA play with a 66-60 victory over the always-tough Bears.
In a see-saw first quarter, the Bobcats relied on the offensive abilities of senior Lance Schneider and junior Justin Shipp to jump on top early. Schneider led the way with a game-high 21 points, while Shipp followed close with 19.
But the Bears came ready to play and were able to sink some much-needed long distance scoring shots to keep things close at the end of one, with Thayer up 17-16.
The Bobcats used a lot of motion and screens to get good looks at the basket. Jacob Eckman (eight points) and Luke Martin (12 points) smothered the inside on defense, while Shipp and Schneider covered the wings. Ryan Veatch (six points) did an outstanding job of protecting the center of the arc out front in the Bobcats' zone.
When the half rolled around, the Cats were in the lead by four, 30-26.
Thayer maintained this lead and took a 52-46 advantage into the final frame.
The Bobcats were able to stay out of foul problems and they got point production from each of the five starters, helping to maintain a no-panic, steady pace, ending the night with a 66-60 victory over the Bears.
Ava's 6-3 senior guard, Williams, led Ava's scoring with 20 points on the night.
The Bobcats posted a solid 53-40 victory over the Class 3 Salem Tigers Feb. 10. Justin Shipp led the Bobcats with a game-high 30 points for the contest.
Luke Martin added 10 points for Thayer.
Lance Schneider had seven and Jacob Eckman six.
Ryan Veatch finished with four points for the Cats.