LAKE PLACID - Avon Park used a balanced offense with three players in double figures and a stingy defense to beat Lake Placid by a score of 72-58 in boys district basketball Tuesday night.
The Class 4A-District 9 win improved Avon Park to 1-0 on the season.
"We played kind of selfish in the first half, but moved the ball much better in the second half," said Avon Park coach Marty O'Hora. "We played lazy and got killed on the glass in the first half. "But came out with a little chip on our shoulder and played with more intensity in the second half.
"We got in foul trouble in the first half, but hung tough and made some shots down the stretch to get the win."
The loss dropped the Green Dragons to 0-1.
"I won't complain about our effort," said Lake Placid first-year coach Dan Coomes. "Mentally is where we struggled and that's my fault.
"We've got a young group with two sophomores in the starting lineup, but I need to get the guys better prepared and I will."
Avon Park jumped out to a quick lead behind the scoring of senior guard Alfred Brown and Gus Owens. Brown poured in seven of his 12 points and Owens added eight of his 21 to give the Red Devils a commanding 20-12 lead heading to the second quarter.
Lake Placid battled back as Avon Park got into foul trouble which allowed the Green Dragons to shoot a lot of free throws to narrow their deficit.
Lake Placid's Kaetwan Lowe scored six of his team-high 15 points and Brad Bell chipped in with six of his 14 to pull the Dragons within 32-27 at the half.
"Lake Placid did a good job of attacking us and we had to sit a couple of guys with three fouls and it hurt our offense," O'Hora said. "But we have to do a better job of executing no matter who is playing."
Avon Park started to dominate the paint in the third quarter as Tyrone Perry and Owens were able to get inside position for easy baskets.
Owens scored six points as the Red Devils took a slim 43-40 lead into the final eight minutes.
Lake Placid missed several shots around the basket and Avon Park began to find the range.
Owens scored nine points and John Mason exploded for 15 of his game-high 24 points as the Red Devils steadily pulled away from the smaller Green Dragons.
Avon Park was able to withstand a couple of Lake Placid rallies by hitting jump shots and making its free throws down the stretch to hold off the scrappy Green Dragons.
"We're a young group and with two sophomores and no seniors in the starting lineup I have to do a better job of getting them ready to play," said Coomes. "We did hustle, but we committed too many turnovers and we'll try and do better our next game."
Lake Placid is at McKeel Academy tonight.
Avon Park will look to continue its winning ways with a district home game tonight against Mulberry.
"It's good to open with a district win," said O'Hora. "Our attitudes have gotten better and that's the main improvement from last season.
"This is a good group of guys, we just have to come ready to play every night."