ANSONIA – Arcanum spoiled the Ansonia girls basketball team’s senior night on Thursday with a smothering defense that led the Trojans to a 64-36 victory.
Prior to the Cross County Conference matchup Ansonia honored its three seniors: Ashton Bradham, Stefani Garrett and Jailyn Thwaits. The trio started the game for the Tigers, and helped their team get off to a strong start.
Thwaits began the scoring by knocking down a 3-pointer. With Trinity Henderson adding two baskets, including a 3-pointer, Ansonia was up 8-2 early in the contest.
“You always want your seniors to come out and do well,” Ansonia coach Jim Bolin said. “They’ve been with me since I’ve been here so it’s kind of special.”
Stevie Johnting scored Arcanum’s first 7 points to keep the Trojans in the game then Kayla O’Daniel scored their next 6, including a basket with 1:26 remaining in the first quarter that gave Arcanum its first lead of the night at 11-10.
Ansonia briefly regained the lead with a basket by Bailey Stammen before Kayla O’Daniel and Brittany Kinney made shots for Arcanum to put the Trojans up 16-12 at the end of the opening period.
After closing the first quarter on a 5-0 run Arcanum began the second period on a 7-0 run to go up 21-12.
Led by Kassy Wentworth, Stammen, Bradham and Henderson, Ansonia battled back and reduced its deficit to 4 points before Arcanum went on another run to close out the half leading 37-25.
“I think we played pretty good the first half,” Bolin said. “The second half they just got away from us. We only have six players and they’ve got like 20,000. That makes a big difference in the second half. They played real well. They couldn’t miss nothing, and we couldn’t hit nothing.”
In the third quarter Arcanum shut down Ansonia, limiting the Tigers to a single 3-pointer by Garrett as the Trojans increased their advantage to 52-28.
“We challenged them at halftime just to do things right,” Arcanum coach Matt Grote said. “We thought giving up 25 in the first half was an awful lot, and to only give up 11 the second half, 3 in the third quarter … wow. That’s a great effort. Great effort defensively.”
Arcanum continued to play strong defense in the fourth quarter and limited Ansonia to just 8 points in that period to close out the 64-36 CCC victory.
Arcanum was led by Kayla O’Daniel’s game-high 12 points on Thursday. Also for the Trojans, Johnting scored 9 points, Gracie Garno scored 8, Kinney scored 7, Madi O’Daniel scored 7, Kaitlyn Zell scored 7, Camille Pohl scored 6, McKenzie Sharritts scored 6, and Macey Hartman scored 2.
“That’s something we’ve been really blessed lately, a lot of kids able to score,” Grote said. “We had a couple seniors in foul trouble, a few starters, and other kids were able to come in and step up and get the job done. It makes a great team effort right there.”
Henderson led Ansonia with 11 points. Also for the Tigers, Stammen scored 7 points, Wentworth scored 7, Bradham scored 5, Garrett scored 3, and Thwaits scored 3.
Ansonia fell to 11-11 overall and 6-6 in the CCC with the loss. The Tigers will return to action at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at Sidney against either Fort Loramie or Riverside in the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
Arcanum improved to 15-7 overall and 10-2 in the CCC. The Trojans will play Indian Lake in the first round of the OHSAA tournament at 2 p.m. Feb. 18 at Franklin Monroe.
“Fifteen wins is awesome,” Grote said. “Hopefully we have a few more in us.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.