AVON PARK - The Sebring Blue Streaks boys basketball team overcame a seven-point, second-half deficit to beat the Avon Park Red Devils by a score of 40-34 on Friday night.
The win improved The Class 5A Blue Streaks to 8-5 on the season, while the Class 4A Red Devils dropped to 11-5 for the year.
Sebring reversed the tables on Avon Park, which eight days prior erased a 12-point second-half lead by the Blue Streaks to post a 60-56 win in the Taveniere Tournament.
"It was a typical Avon Park-Sebring game," said Sebring coach Princeton Harris. "It was a good defensive game."
Defense ruled the first quarter as only a total of 11 points were scored. Luke Ancrum scored the first basket of the game to put the Blue Streaks up 2-0.
That score held true until Avon Park's Recarus Burley buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key midway through the quarter, giving the Red Devil's a brief lead at 3-2.
Sebring responded by scoring six unanswered points to end the first quarter with an 8-3 advantage.
As cold as the Red Devils were in the first quarter, they came out on fire in the second by going on a 7-0 run, sparked by Burley's second 3-pointer of the game to give Avon Park a 10-8 lead.
This started a series of scoring runs as Sebring answered by going on a 6-1 run and taking a 14-11 lead.
Avon Park fired back scoring 7 of the next 8 points to retake the lead 18-15 seconds before the half. Sebring's Keizhan Hester tied the game at 18 with a 3-pointer at the end of the first half.
Avon Park dominated the first half of the third quarter, outscoring the Blue Streaks 9-2 to hold their biggest lead of the game at 27-20 and holding Sebring to only two free throws.
That changed as Sebring changed tactics by shifting from shooting the ball outside to attacking the basket inside. They chipped away at the Red Devil lead, cutting it in half by the end of the quarter to four, 29-25.
"It was Coach LaVaar Scott that told them that we could get inside," said Harris. "I can't take credit for that. I wanted to get the big guys involved. We did attack and got to the free throw line. We shot 75 percent, so that' a little bit better."
The Blue Streaks started the final quarter by going on a 6-1 scoring spurt, highlighted by Sebring's Terrill Williams going coast-to-coast off an Avon Park turnover that put Sebring in the lead 31-30.
Again Avon Park answered the call as Gus Owens scored twice to put the Red Devils back on top 34-31 with four minutes to play.
Those would be the last points Avon Park as Sebring retook the lead 36-34 off Hester's second 3-pointer three pointer of the game with 3:19 left.
Neither team scored for over two minutes and the last four points of the game were by the Blue Streaks at the free throw line as Sebring held on for the 40-34 win.
"We have really been shooting the ball poorly the last few games, 24 and 34 points," said Avon Park coach Marty O'Hora. "We played well defensively holding Liberty to 43 and Sebring to 40, but we have to find different ways to score when the jump shots are not going in. We need to get a little tougher inside, attack the paint and get to the foul line."
"We had a seven point lead, shot a couple of bad three's and they came back and scored. They took it from us, they played well and executed well down the stretch and our shooting has been pretty cold."
Both teams have busy schedules this week as Sebring plays two district games on the road, traveling to Hardee on Tuesday then Lemon Bay on Thursday before playing Clewiston at home on Friday.
Avon Park also has two district games, they face McKeel Academy on Tuesday at home and travel to Frostproof on Thursday.