She’s got a bounce to her game.
She’s a spark plug.
So you can understand why New Trier girls basketball coach Teri Rodgers puts the 5-foot-2 Ava Zaslavsky on the floor at key times.
“She provides a lot of energy,” said Rodgers, following her team’s 53-47 setback to host Evanston on Dec. 1. “She’s tenacious.
“And she does a lot of positive things for us offensively and defensively,” the coach added. “We knew that she’d be there for us.”
Despite her size, Zaslavsky doesn’t mind taking on challenges. The sophomore, who currently comes off the bench, closed out the third quarter against the Wildkits (5-2) with a pair of impressive baskets.
First, she cut into Evanston’s 38-25 advantage by floating in a 12-foot runner from the right wing. And then, just as the third-quarter buzzer was sounding, Zaslavsky converted an inbounds pass with a strong baseline drive.
Those two buckets seemed to unlock New Trier’s offense. The Trevians tallied 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the fourth quarter. Rebecca Goldman (9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) reeled off five straight points to trim Evanston’s lead to four, 40-36, with 6:19 left to play. And Cate Murdock tallied six of her game-high 16 points in the fourth frame.
Only one problem.
“We dug ourselves too big of a hole,” said Rodgers, after watching her team lose for the first time this season.
The Wildkits managed to stave off NT’s comeback bid by hitting some key baskets down the stretch. And they put the finishing touches on an eight-point win by going 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 19 seconds.
“We lost this game in the first quarter,” said Rodgers, referring to her team’s nine-point deficit, 19-10, after the first eight minutes.
Meanwhile, things had been going swimmingly for the Trevians. They took first place in their own Thanksgiving Tournament with wins over Phillips 78-33, Loyola Academy 65-59, Hyde Park 59-28, Harlan 54-50 and Bogan 68-64.
And then, NT improved to 6-0 by downing Deerfield 53-45 on Nov. 28. Goldman (15 points, 2 steals), Cate Murdock (14 points, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Taite Ryan (8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists).
In the win over Bogan, the Trevians were led by Maggie Murdock (17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals), Ryan (13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists), Nicole Kaspi (10 points, 3 assists), Goldman (9 points, 6 rebounds) and Cate Murdock (6 points, 3 deflections).
Against Harlan, NT was paced by Cate Murdock (14 points, 3 assists), Ryan (10 points, 8 rebounds), Maggie Murdock (9 points, 4 assists) and Goldman (8 points, 5 rebounds).
Ryan (12 points, 7 rebounds), Goldman (10 points, 2 steals), Maggie Murdock (8 points, 4 assists) and Cate Murdock (8 points, 6 assists) were the stat leaders against Hyde Park.
Zaslavsky (15 points, 5 deflections, 5 steals), Maggie Murdock (13 points, 4 steals), Cate Murdock (9 points, 3 assists) and Goldman (8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 deflections) keyed the win over Phillips.
And NT had four players in double figures in its win over LA: Cate Murdock (19), Goldman (11), Ryan (11) and Maggie Murdock (10). Jacqueline Vinson helped out with eight points, four rebounds and two assists.