DANVILLE, Ind. -- The Avon boys basketball team grabbed the lead over Hendricks County rival Brownsburg before Saturday's county tournament championship game began and held on throughout for a 41-38 win.
The Orioles became the first boys team to win three consecutive Hendricks County titles.
"We've had a transfer; we've had multiple injuries," said Avon coach Jason Young. "For the guys that stuck with us, I'm especially happy for them."
The game, hosted by Danville, started with a rare occurrence. Brownsburg -- technically the home team -- mistakenly wore its road jerseys, leaving both teams wearing black. The Bulldogs were penalized with a technical foul and Avon's Carter Vanwanzeele made two free throws to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead before the clock started. Avon (7-5) rolled to a 26-13 first-half lead and appeared poised for a blowout.
Brownsburg, though, came out in the third quarter wearing their white home jerseys and with a new fighting spirit.
"We realized that if we didn't change the way we were playing, we were going to get blown out of the gym," said Bulldogs coach Ronald Nored. "I think that heightened our focus and heightened our toughness a little bit."
Brownsburg had a chance to tie, but Vanwanzeele blocked the Bulldogs' 3-point desperation shot as time expired. Conner Funkhouser scored 14 to lead Avon and Logan White added 10.
The win was Avon's second over Brownsburg this season by three points. With the exception of its first game of the year, a blowout loss to Carmel, Brownsburg (3-7) has been competitive in all of its losses, losing by an average 5.5 points. Trevor Lucas led the Bulldogs on Saturday with 14 points.
"We're a close team right now," Nored said. "We're competing. We're just not finishing."
Brownsburg girls win
In the girls championship game, a late second-quarter surge helped Brownsburg pull away from Tri-West 54-26. The Bulldogs continued their county dominance, becoming the second team in school history to have a senior class win four county titles.
"This was a really big deal to us," said Brownsburg's 6-4 center Stephanie Mavunga, one of seven seniors on the team. "It would have been six (county titles) in a row for a couple of us seniors, but we lost to Tri-West in eighth grade. We were really upset about that and wanted to get them back. This gives us a little bit of bragging rights."
Brownsburg (10-3) led 14-13 late in the second quarter when freshman Zhane Roper gave the Bulldogs a spark, scoring all seven of her points. Roper drilled a 3 from the top of the key with 2:40 left and followed with back-to-back jumpers near the free throw line. Brooke Bronger's 3 with 7.2 seconds left closed the half for the Bulldogs with a 12-0 run and a 26-13 lead.
"We have lots of people that are capable of doing things," said Brownsburg coach Amy Brauman. "A lot of times, that gets overlooked because Stephanie is such an obvious threat inside. I thought Tri-West did a nice job of covering (her) and we had to have other people step up. Zhane did a great job of penetrating the middle of their zone, and Brooke hit some shots."
The Bulldogs' tenacious rebounding limited Tri-West (11-3) mostly to one shot. With no one on Tri-West able to match her size, Mavunga, who played sparingly in the first half, took over in the third. She scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the quarter as Brownsburg built a 44-21 lead. Freshman Aliyah Walker added 10 points for the Bulldogs. Lauren DeSutter led Tri-West with 11 points.