Gus Owens scored a game-high 14 points to lead Avon Park to a 44-34 win over DeSoto in boys basketball on Tuesday night.
The Class 4A-District 10 win improved the Red Devils to 2-0 in district play.
The game was played at a frenetic pace, with DeSoto using a full-court press to force the up-tempo action.
Avon Park started the first quarter with solid play as Owens scored eight points to help the Red Devils take a 14-8 lead into the second period.
But Avon Park, which had 25 turnovers, started to make mistakes against the tenacious full-court press of the Bulldogs.
DeSoto forced 23 turnovers, which were converted into easy baskets by the Bulldogs.
Kari Williams scored four of his nine points as DeSoto tied the score at 20 at the half.
Avon Park did a much better job of breaking DeSoto's press in the third quarter which allowed the Red Devils to pull away.
Jovan Pratt scored four of his six points and Owens added a pair of baskets as the Red Devils stormed out to a commanding 35-23 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
DeSoto made several attempts to get back in the game, but the Bulldogs made only 6 of 21 free throws to hurt their own cause.
Chemaya Louis scored a pair of baskets and Owens added four points to help Avon Park hold off any comeback by DeSoto.
The Red Devils made just enough free throws down the stretch to seal the hard-fought victory over the Bulldogs.
Avon Park is back in action with a home game against Hardee tonight and the Red Devils travel to Mulberry on Friday night for a district game against the Panthers.
Avon Park hosts district rival Lake Placid on Tuesday night and the Red Devils are home against Frostproof on Dec. 14.
The Red Devils, who are the defending Class 4A-District 10 champions, are a much different team than last year's which made it to the regional semifinals before bowing out of the state playoffs.
Standout guard Marcus Dewberry transferred to Lake Wales, several players graduated and coach Luther Clemons retired just before the start of the season.
New coach Marty O'Hora has the Red Devils playing a different style of ball and it's taking some of the players a little longer to grasp the new system.
"The guys that work the hardest in practice are the ones that will play in the game," O'Hora said. "It's early in the season and we want to be peaking and playing our best when the district tournament rolls around in February."