ANSONIA – The Ansonia Tigers gave a demonstration of their outside shooting prowess Friday night in their Cross County Conference tilt against Newton.
The Tigers blistered the nets with 12 triples during the contest to propel them to a 65-63 victory over the Indians.
Ansonia started the game quickly. Three-balls by Devyn Sink, Aydan Sanders and Brayden Swabb quickly stretched the Tiger lead to 11-4 with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter.
As was its custom all evening, Newton would not play far off the lead. After another Sanders trey gave Ansonia a 16-9 lead with just a few seconds left, a driving half-court shot by Ryan Mollette would draw Newton to within four at 16-12 after one period.
The major positive about the Tigers’ 3-point attack is that the shots were coming from within their offense. They weren’t forcing the shots or doing one-on-one moves to get the opportunities. They were getting great looks by running their offensive sets.
Three more shots from behind the arc in the second quarter would find twine for Ansonia with Sanders netting two and Swabb one. But Swabb picked up his third personal foul with 6:44 before the intermission, and this put Newton in the bonus. The Tigers won the quarter 15-11, giving them a 31-23 halftime advantage.
As the second half opened the game seemed to have the same flow as Ansonia continued to hold a three to seven point lead. The Tigers had been employing a man-to-man defense for the majority of the game but suddenly with about four minutes remaining in the period something clicked for Newton.
The Indians went on a 13-4 run to close out the third quarter that allowed them to catch and overtake Ansonia for a lead after three periods, 47-44. Only a Tiger trey by Lane Clark kept the deficit from being even greater, but it seemed as if momentum had swung in Newton’s favor.
The fourth opened with the teams exchanging free throws, but the biggest happening was when the Tigers went to their two-three match-up zone.
“We were trying everything to stop them,” Ansonia boys basketball coach Chad Cramer said. “We went back to zone and the last time it stuck … the center was coming up to guard the high post and allowed the guards to extend.”
The zone would give up only four points over the next five minutes of play. During that stretch it allowed Ansonia at one point to go on a 9-0 run to retake the lead 59-52 with 2:43 remaining in the game.
At the two-minute mark with possession, the Tigers stopped running their regular offense and went into a four corners approach. This works time off the clock. Making free throws when fouled is the key to this strategy, although, Ansonia made only 3-of-11 the final two minutes, but a huge transition three by Hunter Buckingham with 1:20 left gave the Tigers a lead of 62-54 that they would not surrender. Two free throws by Sanders with 41 seconds left gave Ansonia the points they needed for victory.
Sanders led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points. Sink contributed 13 while Hunter Muir did great work on the boards and chipped in 11 points.
Ryan Mollette led the Indians with 20 points and Jackson Riffle added 16.
Ansonia improved to 1-1 on the season and 1-1 in the CCC.
Newton won the junior varsity game 42-32.