By Drew Terhall
ARCANUM — It was a defensive battle between Ansonia High School and Franklin Monroe High School at the Hangar. The Lady Tigers did enough on offense to get a 29-28 over the Lady Jets on Jan. 26.
Ansonia head coach Joey Schmitmeyer said he was proud of his team for hanging in there and fighting to get back into the win column.
“It feels good to get back into the win column and snap a six-game losing streak. It feels good,” Schmitmeyer said.
Both head coaches felt like it was a game they could have won during each minute of the game. Each team was one run away from getting the win.
After the first quarter, Ansonia had a 4-3 lead. Franklin Monroe slowed down the Ansonia offense with their press defense while Ansonia was able to have their half-court defense hold of the Franklin Monroe offense.
At halftime, the teams were tied at 13 each. Franklin Monroe head coach Zane Shellabarger said there’s no excuses for how the team came out in the first half. The team was missing a key player in junior Olivia Sease.
“I didn’t like our fight to begin with. We shouldn’t been in that situation. I felt like our energy was no where near where it needed to be in the first half,” Shellabarger said.
The third quarter gave Ansonia enough space to win the game. They outscored the Lady Jets 13-8 in the quarter. Juniors Brenna and Bailey Schmit had 11 of the team’s 13 points in the quarter. Brenna had eight points with two three-point shots made. Bailey made a three pointer to help give Ansonia an edge.
Schmitmeyer said he was proud of how the Schmits and sophomore Gabby Leeper played. He also said Leeper has been out for the last few games and it was great to have her back.
Both teams in the second half had shots that would not fall in. They had opportunities to get the offense going. But as Schmitmeyer said, it felt like there was a lid on the basket.
There was also a ton of little mistakes that turned out to be a big difference in the game. Unforced turnovers and small defensive lapses led to each team losing some momentum.
For Franklin Monroe, they couldn’t do enough to overcome those mistakes. Shellabarger said it’s been a common theme during the season that they can’t find a way to get over the hump during a game.
“We’re not a talented enough team to take one or two plays off. If we don’t bring the 100% energy every play, we’re hurting. That was proof tonight,” Shellabarger said.
The Lady Jets did make it a game late. With 2:57 left in the fourth quarter, senior Jaliyah Nichols made a three-point shot to make it a 26-29 game.
Both teams fought hard to end the game with a win. Franklin Monroe had a chance to gain a lead as they had the ball with 11.2 seconds left. Ansonia’s defense stood tall and sealed the win with a defensive stand.
Schmitmeyer said a win like this could help his team do well in the postseason. This was a postseason type of game as both teams had a chance to win it late. Ansonia kept their heads in the game and didn’t let their emotions get to them even as they were struggling on offense.
“We really got to focus on what we can do in moment that will help our team,” Schmitmeyer said. “We just kept that as our focus. It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to do it.”
He also said the team did move the ball better in this game than they have in previous games. The Lady Tigers got their post players involved more and had a better flow to their offense.
Ansonia was led by Brenna Schmit with 10 points. Franklin Monroe was led by freshman Adalynn Hines with 10 points.
The Lady Tigers are now 8-12 with a 3-7 conference record. They will host Tri-County North on Feb. 2 and Middletown Madison on Feb. 4 to close out the regular season.
The Lady Jets are now 4-16 with a 2-8 conference record. They will host Dixie on Jan. 30 and end the regular season at National Trail on Feb. 2. Shellabarger said he believes his team will bounce back in time for postseason play.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]