Biglerville's Ayers hits scoring milestone
Biglerville's Noah Ayers burst onto the local high school basketball scene two years ago as a freshman. He averaged 9.9 points per game in his rookie season to help the Canners qualify for the District 3 Class AA tournament.
He bumped that scoring average to 18.1 points per game as a sophomore.
This season, the junior sharpshooter upped his average, again, to 18.4 points per game. And he became the seventh boy in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau for his career during Friday's game at Bermudian Springs. He ended the game with 12 points and currently has 1,009 points for his career.
Unsurprisingly, it was a 3-pointer that pushed him over the barrier. After all, he's made 48 of them this season and 144 in his career.
He's also a very good free-throw shooter, checking in at 78.6 percent from the charity stripe this season and 79.7 percent for his career. All the while upping his trips to the foul line from 2.6 attempts per game as a freshman to 5.3 attempts per game this season.
"I work a lot on my shooting, it's something that I take pride in," Ayers said. "I work on my ball handling and playing off the ball. Running around screens and trying to get open. I know I'm usually going to be guarded by the other team's best defender, so I need to be able to get myself open."
Ayers became the first Canner to reach the milestone since 2007 graduate Brock Grim got there in 2006. Grim graduated with a school-record 1,633 career points.
"It's something special. There haven't been a lot of people reach 1,000 at Biglerville, so it's nice to accomplish," Ayers said. "But I wouldn't be doing it without the rest of the team. I enjoy playing with them, and we're a close group off the floor as well as on it. We do a lot of things together as a group."
While shooting and scoring can be measured with a box score, leadership and work ethic can not. That's where Canner head coach Steve Elsier had praise for Ayers.
"Noah's work ethic to play good basketball is outstanding," Elsier said. "He's what we want from all of our players when it comes to the desire to work and get better. He's also a great leader on the floor and a vocal one that does his best to lead the team."
Another strong point for Ayers is his coachability.
"We break down film together often, and he's very coachable," Elsier said. "I have to talk to him a little about his defense at times, more so with where he is positioning his hands than anything else. But he's very good at making the adjustments that we ask him to make."
Longtime Bermudian head coach Tom Flaherty had a glowing review from an opposing perspective.
"He's a very good player, and you're not going to totally stop him," Flaherty said. "But you have to try to limit him. He can really shoot the ball, and you have to try to keep the ball out of his hands as much as possible."
After qualifying for districts two seasons ago, the Canners missed the postseason in 2015 and are currently 12th in the Class AA standings with the top ten earning spots.
"We're making strides as a team, but we need to keep our focus better," Ayers said. "We've had lapses that have cost us games. But that's something that we're working to get better at."