ANSONIA – The Ansonia Tigers whipped up a batch of revenge to serve their guests from Bradford as they defeated the Railroaders 55-36 on Friday evening in a Cross County Conference battle.
The Tigers paid back Bradford for a 55-44 opening night loss on Nov. 27 on the Roaders’ home floor. The victory was the first on the season for the men of Chad Cramer.
“It’s got to feel good for the kids,” Coach Cramer said. “We go back to practice tomorrow and continue to try and get better, striving to be the best team we can be.”
Ansonia opened the contest by running some set plays to get the ball inside for freshman Hunter Muir. Muir responded by scoring the first three baskets of the game, giving the Tigers a lead of 6-0, which they would never relinquish.
Sophomore Josh Phillips broke the ice for Bradford with a hoop and would score all five Railroader points in the quarter.
Lane Clark then added to the Ansonia lead with consecutive field goals and game-high scorer Dane Wentworth added two from behind the arc to give the Tigers a 16-5 lead after one period.
Ansonia’s match-up zone defense was very active, displaying good quickness and fast hands that caused unofficially six turnovers in the first quarter.
“Our offense was stagnant,” Bradford boys basketball coach Mackenzie Perry said. “They beat us to the punch defensively.”
Coach Cramer added, “Our zone is getting better as the year goes on. We contested about everything tonight.”
The Tigers’ defense remained stingy in the second quarter, allowing Bradford only 2 of 8 shooting with five more turnovers, but the Railroader defense stiffened as well. After hitting 7 of 13 in the first period Ansonia would connect on only 3-13 in the second, but they were all 3-pointers. The Tigers were 5 of 10 from long distance while the Roaders were just 1 of 7 for the half.
Each team added nine points to their score, making it 25-14 at the intermission.
Both teams exchanged field goals throughout the third quarter. Ansonia swelled the lead to 32-15 after two Clark free throws. A 3-pointer by Alex Swabb reduced the lead to as little as 37-25. Dialaquan Millhouse scored five in the quarter for Bradford while Wentworth poured in four of his game-high 22 points. Ansonia was still in control, leading 39-25.
“We try to keep it in the 40s,” Coach Perry said of the Bradford defense. “We couldn’t stop the dribble penetration, and Dane was hot.”
Coach Cramer, speaking about Wentworth, said, “Dane’s our scorer. He does so much for us, especially in our league games.”
The fourth quarter saw the Railroaders cut the lead down to 45-34 with nearly three minutes remaining in the game thanks to a Drew Patty field goal. Bradford began to full-court press and thus began the parade by Ansonia to the free throw line. In the final 1:41 the Tigers were 9-13 from the stripe to seal the victory.
“We’re not satisfied with two wins,” Coach Perry said of the Bradford program. “We’ve got to be positive. The sun will still come up. Our confidence doesn’t waver. Stay positive. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
For the game Ansonia shot 16 of 40 from the field while Bradford went 13 of 40. The Tigers committed 12 turnovers compared to 16 for the Railroaders.
Ansonia gets its first win of the season to stand at 1-6 overall and 1-2 in the CCC. Bradford is now 2-4 overall and 0-3 in conference play.
Ansonia will host Arcanum in CCC action on Tuesday evening while Bradford will host Tri-Village.
Ansonia won the junior varsity game 32-20.
Smith 3, Millhouse 5, A Branson 5, Swabb 7, W Branson 2, Patty 8, Phillips 6.
Sanders 12, Muir 9, Alexander 4, Wentworth 22, Clark 6, Denniston 2.
3-pointers: Bradford 4 (Smith, Millhouse, A Branson, Swabb); Ansonia 7 (Sanders 3, Wentworth 3, Alexander)
Free throws: Bradford 6-8; Ansonia 16-21.