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BOYS BASKETBALL: Shayoka's final-second basket lifts Athens to win over Avondale WITH TOUT VIDEOS

AUBURN HILLS There's nothing like a game-winning buzzer-beater to usher in the holiday break of the schedule.

Troy Athens can attest to that after a down-to-the-wire thriller with Auburn Hills Avondale bounced the way of the Red Hawks on Thursday.

Junior Tim Shayoka was the hero for Athens, converting a difficult, off-balance shot that dropped in with two tenths of a second remaining to lift the Red Hawks to a 51-49 victory.

With just 11 seconds to work with, following a timeout, Athens trailed Avondale by one point and quickly had to improvise after the inbounds pass.

"It was supposed to be a pick-and-roll for either me or Mike (Williams) to bring it up and John (Van Hoef) to come in to set a screen," Shayoka said of the final possession. "But that kind of broke down, so Mike had the ball and he kicked to me in the corner. I had been struggling all game, wasn't being assertive and was having a horrible game. But I tried to give a pump fake and tried to get a foul to get to the line. I ended up making the shot."

Shayoka did draw a foul on the play and ultimately sank the subsequent free throw. The decisive two-point basket in the final second was the only one he made in the game.

"He's a third-year varsity player and it's what we needed from him. It was a big hoop," Red Hawks coach David Scott said of Shayoka. "Games like this, they come down to the little things and we were lucky (tonight) to have the ball at the end and to score."

With Athens' post-game elation, the other side of the coin produced a disappointed Avondale squad. Yellow Jackets coach Tim Morton said he could hardly find fault in the way his team defended the final possession, however, crediting Shayoka with an outstanding shot.

"We didn't know with these guys who was going to take the shot because they have a number of different guys that can shoot it. So we wanted to switch with ball screens so we could keep the ball in front of us," Morton said. "We did a good job of that this time. A running, one-hander from the baseline side That's one of the hardest shots in basketball, so you have to give him some credit. We fouled him, granted, but I'm not blaming my players on that."

If not for Shayoka's shot, the Yellow Jackets would have been celebrating a game-winning 3-pointer by senior Zarrick Sturgis. With 14 seconds remaining and Avondale trailing 48-46, Sturgis drained his fifth 3-pointer of the night from the top of the arc, which pushed the Yellow Jackets back in the lead.

"Zarrick, when he's fundamentally sound and doesn't rush his shot, he's one of the best shooters around. There's no doubt about it," Morton said.

Sturgis led all scorers with 26 points and was instrumental in the early stages of the game when Avondale built up a 12-1 lead coming out of the gates.

Despite not converting a single basket from the field during the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets still carried a 19-14 lead into halftime.

"We talked at halftime about energy and effort," Scott said of Athens' adjustments that helped close the gap. "That's really where we felt we were getting beat. We shot poorly, I think we were 0-for-10 from behind the 3-point line in the first half. We felt we had to focus on getting Corbin Vrij and John Van Hoef more touches."

After trailing the entire game, Athens finally completed its rally, drawing even with 4:33 to play in the fourth quarter and taking a lead on its next possession.

The Red Hawks (2-2, 0-1 OAA White) also received significant contributions from Williams (17 points, seven rebounds, six assists), Vrij (12 points, eight rebounds) and Van Hoef (10 points, 12 rebounds).

For Avondale (0-4, 0-1 OAA White), Morton said Thursday's strong performance, despite the loss, was a definite stepping stone on the path to becoming a better team.

"Come March, nobody is going to remember what you're record is," he said. "We grew a ton as a team today. It's not showing on the scoreboard yet, but it's coming. I'm proud of my kids."



TROY ATHENS 51, AUBURN HILLS AVONDALE 49

ATHENS Michael Williams 3 (2) 5-7 17; Zak Spryszak 1-2 1; Will James (1) 3; Tim Shayoka 1 (1) 3-3 8; Corbin Vrij 4 4-5 12; John Van Hoef 5 0-1 10; Totals: 13 (4) 13-18 51

AVONDALE Zarrick Sturgis 2 (5) 7-9 26; Derek Odneal 2 4; Alex Hodges 1-2 1; Vishnu Akella 1 1-2 3; Darius Woods (2) 6; Pritheesh Palanisamy 1 2; Steve Schaller 1-2 1; Jalen Latham (2) 6; Totals: 6 (9) 10-15 49

SCORE BY QUARTER

TA 8 6 21 16 51

A 15 4 17 13 49

RECORDS Athens 2-2, 1-0 OAA White; Avondale 0-4, 0-1 OAA White

JV Avondale 54, Athens 46



Last Updated: 12/19/2013 10:23:55 PM EST

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