BELLBROOK — A young Arcanum team played well for most of its sectional tournament game against Anna on Tuesday but fell short, losing 70-61 to be eliminated from the tournament.
While Arcanum didn’t reach its goal of advancing to tonight’s sectional final at the University of Dayton, coach Brian Gunter was very positive after the game about how his squad played against a good Anna team.
“These young men played exceptionally the entire season, they hung in there, they played for that name on the front of that jersey, and they worked all the way until that buzzer sounded,” Gunter said.
The first quarter was back and forth with six lead changes in the opening eight minutes.
Arcanum started the game with its bigs, Collin Habel and Mason Garber, scoring the Trojans’ first nine points of the game.
Then Conner Pohl and Kory Baker joined the scoring, putting the Trojans up 16-15 late in the opening quarter before Anna scored the period’s final four points to take a 19-16 lead.
While Arcanum kept the game within striking distance the rest of the night, the Trojans never regained the lead.
Arcanum’s 6-foot 3-inch Garber and 6-foot 3-inch Pohl, who with 16 and nine points respectively in the first half led the Trojan offense, scored all of the team’s second quarter points.
Anna also used its tallest players often in the first half with 6-foot 5-inch Joel Albers scoring 14 points and 6-foot 4-inch Josh Robinson scoring eight points to help the Rockets build a 36-29 halftime lead.
“I know their bigs had a good first half,” Gunter said. “I think we did a better job on them in the second, and then they started to knock down a couple long shots.”
The game started to slip away from Arcanum in the third quarter as after Garber made a free throw to begin the second half scoring, Anna went on a 10-0 run to increase its lead to 16 points.
Garber, Habel and Baker then broke the scoring drought and cut the deficit to 10 points, but Anna scored the final four points of the period to lead 50-36.
“Our kids played extremely hard,” Gunter said. “When they went up 15, we could have basically said you know what … but we battled I think to seven, had the ball in our hands.”
With Pohl, Garber, Baker and Habel continuing to lead the Arcanum offense, the Trojans cut the deficit to 59-52 with 1:44 left in the fourth quarter.
“We told them, hey, this fourth quarter, it’s all about taking advantage of each possession, and I think we shot better,” Gunter said.
Arcanum had the momentum but couldn’t get any closer as the Trojans lost 70-61 to end their season.
“These guys were very focused,” Gunter said. “It’s just part of basketball where teams go on runs, and you just try to work your way back in. Hey, I’m proud of what they did. I’m absolutely proud of what they did. They worked extremely hard.”
Garber led Arcanum with a game-high 26 points in the loss. Also for the Trojans, Pohl scored 15 points, Baker scored 12, and Habel scored eight.
Carter Bensman led Anna with 21 points in the win while Albers scored 19, Robinson scored 12, Grant Glover scored nine, Evan Romie scored seven, and Brady Cates scored two.
Arcanum’s loss ended the high school basketball career for its lone senior, Garber.
“He is exceptional,” Gunter said. “A tremendous leader, a person that was very consistent. He’s the guy that we had to go to. He did a great job out there on the floor, an exceptional teammate. Absolutely appreciate everything he’s done in our program.
“He works extremely hard for this program, and we are going to miss him.”