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Avondale wins thriller at West Bloomfield to pull even in OAA Blue WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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WEST BLOOMFIELD – Both Auburn Hills Avondale and West Bloomfield are not one-man teams by any stretch of the imagination.

But still, nobody in West Bloomfield’s gym would have minded if the court would’ve have been cleared so Avondale senior Chris Barton and West Bloomfield junior Trishton Jackson could’ve just played a game of one-on-one.

Barton and Jackson took over a critical Oakland Activities Association Blue Division game late and did every they could to will their teams to victory, but only one could win and the biggest shot ended up belonging to Barton.

With 45 seconds remaining, Barton came off a screen and hit what turned out to be the game-winning 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key to give Avondale a heartstopping 67-66 win over the Lakers.

Avondale not only avenged a five-point loss at home to West Booomfield last month, but moved into a first-place tie in the OAA Blue with the Lakers since now both are 5-1 in league play.

“We had this game marked on our calendar ever since we took that loss,” Barton said. “It was good to come out and get our revenge.”

After Barton’s 3-pointer, West Bloomfield (13-2, 5-1) had three chances to get back in front, but couldn’t capitalize.

The Lakers turned it over on their first possession after Barton’s shot, but Barton missed the front end of a one-and-one with 32 seconds remaining.

West Bloomfield put it in the hands of Jackson, who drove the lane and had a good chance from roughly five feet, but couldn’t convert.

A tip-in attempt by senior forward Zach Allread fell just short and Avondale (13-3, 5-1) got the rebound with under three seconds remaining.

Barton was fouled again, but missed both free throws to give the Lakers one last chance with 2.9 seconds left.

But West Bloomfield was forced to inbound the ball from underneath its own basket, and the best shot the Lakers could get was a half-court prayer from Jackson that missed as time expired.

“It was a little deeper than we wanted it to be, but we’ve got full confidence in Chris taking that shot,” Avondale head coach Tim Morton said of Barton’s game-winner. “He’s a big-time player. He could’ve hit a few of those foul shots down there and we’ll talk about that tomorrow. But I liked our defensive effort. We made them earn their points.”

Barton ended up scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, and he also pulled down 11 rebounds for Avondale.

Jackson was outstanding again for West Bloomfield, scoring 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half in defeat for the Lakers, who lost for the first time since a non-league defeat to Warren De La Salle in December.

“They beat us and were a better team tonight,” West Bloomfield head coach Jeremy Denha said. “Defensively, we had a bunch of lapses but I give credit to Avondale. They hit shots when they had to and Barton was a man.”

Junior Jalen Latham scored 13 points to flank Barton for Avondale, while West Bloomfield junior Gervon Winn added 17 points in support of Jackson’s total.

Each team has four league games left now as the OAA Blue will now come right down to the wire instead of it being a West Bloomfield coronation if the Lakers would have won.

Last Updated: 2/18/2015 8:33:10 AM EST

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