GETTYSBURG – It was one of those games where you hated to see either team lose, but in the end it was National Trail prevailing with a 56-52 win over visiting Ansonia.
“I give them all the credit; they beat us,” Ansonia boys basketball coach Chad Cramer said.
“They made more plays down the stretch. We made some good plays … but they made a few more,” Cramer added.
In the first quarter Ansonia came out hot with Aydan Sanders scoring five points, Hunter Muir four points and Devyn Sink and Lane Clark each adding triples to give the Tigers a 15-14 lead in the first quarter.
The Blazers countered with their big man in the middle, Kaleb Deardorff, with 10 points in the paint.
“Kaleb Deardorff activity in the post kept us in the game early when Ansonia was shooting the ball really well,” National Trail coach Mike Harrison said.
The Trail Blazers found the range from the outside with Peyton Harrison connecting on two triples and six of the Blazers’ 10 points in the second quarter.
Ansonia matched the 10 points to help the Tigers’ maintain their one-point lead at the half, 25-24.
In the second half Ansonia rode the hot hand of the freshman Sink, who had eight points including two triples, to open up a five-point lead 40-35 to end the third quarter.
National Trail found a spark on offense in the final stanza and started to crawl back into the contest.
Sophomore Dalton Mason scored nine of his 15 points to help the Blazers to a 21-point surge in the final quarter.
Mason scored on a baseline jumper at the 5:37 mark to give the Blazers their first lead since early in the game 41-40.
Sink drained another triple and added seven points in the final quarter to finish the game with 18 points to help Ansonia go back up 43-41.
“Devyn really played well right from the start. He shot it well, and he defended well … maybe the best he has all year,” Cramer said.
“He’s young and will only keep getting better,” Cramer added.
Trail countered with an old-fashioned three-point play from Peyton Harrison to regain the lead 44-43, and moments later Mason hit a one-handed jumper in the middle of the lane to go up 46-43.
Travis Hunt on the next trip down the floor lofted a trey that was good, and National Trail now owned a 49-43 lead.
Ansonia then ramped up the pressure, and Muir converted a steal into a deuce and a free throw. Then Sink again hit a trey with 2:07 to play, and the Tigers narrowed the lead down to 51-49
Mason came up big one more time for Trail, grabbing a big offensive rebound and scoring it to put the lead back up to 53-49.
Trevor Alexander converted a turnover into two more points with 15 seconds to go, and it was now a two-point game 53-51.
Ansonia was looking to tie or take the lead on its next possession … but only managed a free throw to make it a one-point game, 53-42, with nine seconds remaining.
Weston Haws answered with a fielder, his only points in the game … but two of the biggest, closing the door on Ansonia to give Trail a hard fought 56-52 win.
“That’s a 50/50 ballgame. It could have just as easy been me being sad, and Chad over in the other locker room being happy,” Coach Harrison said.
“Dalton Mason came up with a big rebound and put-back. That was an effort play that we got to have to win games,” Coach Harrison said.
“Travis Hunt’s play at the point guard position was big for us tonight, by taking care of the ball and making good passes,” Coach Harrison said.
“Deardorff throughout the game was a factor due to his ability to flash to the high post and get open helping to create lanes for other people; that was big,” Coach Harrison continued.
“I thought our defensive effort was good tonight. Even when they were making some shots we were contesting them.”
“What a win. It was two pretty evenly matched teams going at it, both trying to teach and coach up some young kids to learn how to win in a close game, and tonight and we made some big plays when it mattered most,” Coach Harrison concluded.
Ansonia was led by Sink with 18 points, and Muir had 11. The Tigers fell to 2-11 overall and 2-6 in the Cross County Conference. It doesn’t get any easier as they will travel to St. Henry today.
National Trail was led by Deardorff with 18 points, Mason had 15, and Peyton Harrison added 12 in the win. The Blazers improved to 3-9 overall and 1-5 in the conference. They have a week off before they will travel to Tri-Village on Friday.
Score by quarters:
ANSONIA …………….15…10…15…12 – 52
NATIONAL TRAIL ……14…10…11…21 – 56
Ansonia (2-11, 2-6)
Devyn Sink 18, Aydan Sanders 7, Hunter Muir 11, Trevor Alexander 4, Dane Wentworth 5, Lane Clark 7 – Totals 9-8-9/13 – 52
National Trail (3-9, 1-5)
Travis Hunt 7, Peyton Harrison 12, Thompson 2, Dylan Haas 2, Kaleb Deardorff 18, Dalton Mason 15 – Totals 4-21-2/9 – 56
Tigers – 9 (Sink 5, Clark 2, Wentworth 1, Sanders 1)
Trail – 4 (Harrison 3, Hunt 1)