ANSONIA – The Ansonia Lady Tigers basketball team has experienced many emotional highs and lows already through this young 2016-17 season.
Monday night’s encounter with Hagerstown, Indiana, served up both as Ansonia could not hold a five-point lead with 1:30 remaining and was forced into overtime, losing 66-61.
In many respects the Lady Tigers may have played their best game of the season. The movement on offense led to good scoring opportunities, and they displayed great effort in rebounding as they relentlessly crashed the glass, especially at the offensive end.
The first half opened with a quick scoring quarter. Hagerstown matched Ansonia point for point throughout the opening period until a 7-0 closing rally, sparked by a Trinity Henderson triple and a full-court press, allowed Ansonia to take a 20-14 lead after eight minutes.
The defenses began to assert themselves in the second period as trips to the free throw line decreased and scoring did as well. Ansonia picked its spots to employ the full-court pressure and was very effective when doing so. The teams each managed 11 points to make a 31-25 score at the intermission.
Hagerstown made some adjustments at the half that allowed it to create some 3-point opportunities and defensively the visitors took away the pass into the high post. These caused Ansonia problems so much so that the Tigers fell behind 37-36 with 3:20 left in the period.
Thanks to a field goal and a free throw by Bailey Stammen, Ansonia regained the lead, began to re-apply the press and re-took the lead 45-40 after three quarters.
Ansonia maintained the lead throughout the fourth quarter. The Lady Tigers held a 54-49 lead with under two minutes remaining.
Hagerstown drew closer to 54-51 with two free throws with 1:37 left. The next 50 seconds would play a large part in determining the outcome of the game.
Ansonia made four consecutive trips to the foul line and converted just two free throws out of six, giving the Tigers a 56-51 lead, but it could have been more.
Hagerstown took possession and scored, making it 56-53, and after stopping Ansonia had the ball with 30 seconds remaining. With 22.9 left Hagerstown senior Caysey Farmer rolled in a basket and was fouled. When she made the free throw the game was tied, thus forcing overtime.
Hagerstown controlled the lead in overtime until a 3-point play by Kassy Wentworth gave Ansonia its final points of the night at 61-60 with 2:13 left. Hagerstown managed two more field goals and a pair of free throws to close out the scoring.
“We’re getting better every game,” Ansonia girls basketball coach Jim Bolin said. “We should have won. We just didn’t take care of the ball. They just won a sectional championship. We made too many little mistakes.
“Pleased with the intensity,” Bolin continued. “Played well as a team. Still need to work on some fundamentals. Need to master fundamentals to win games.”
Bailey Stammen with 16, Trinity Henderson with 15, Jailyn Thwaits with 11 and Kassy Wentworth with 11 were all double-figure scorers for Ansonia. Brytni Dale’s 22 and Madison Brown’s 21 led Hagerstown.
Ansonia fell to 1-4 on the season and 1-0 in the Cross County Conference. The Ansonia varsity plays at Franklin Monroe Thursday afternoon.