By Drew Terhall
PIQUA — The sixth seeded Tigers of Ansonia kept it close, but couldn’t get the momentum needed to snag a lead away from the third seeded Fort Loramie boys basketball team. Ansonia ended their season with a 39-27 lost at Piqua High School in the Southwest Division IV sectional.
After having five players in double figures in their last game against Bradford, the Tigers had three players score in this game. Head coach Tony Overton said the team reverted back to their old ways when Fort Loramie came out swinging.
“When we come out hot and other guys are involved, we feel pretty good. When you get punched in the face, old habits resurface. That’s what beat us tonight,” Overton said.
If Ansonia’s 77-62 win against Bradford was a track meet, this was a stroll through a park. Fort Loramie slowed the pace down and played out long possessions. Overton said he wants his team to have the versatility to play fast and play slow when they need to.
The Tigers stayed locked in defensively when minutes would be taken off the clock while Fort Loramie had the ball. At halftime, it was a 13-12 game in favor of Fort Loramie.
Ansonia started the third quarter behind the eight ball. They lost senior Exzaviar Moody in the first half to an ankle injury. After committing a few turnovers to start the second half, Fort Loramie went on an 8-0 run to take a commanding lead in this type of game.
Overton said the team had their opportunties to play slow and attack the rim to get some kick out threes. He said he saw the players being nervous and playing a little bit scared.
Junior Garrett Stammen carried the team offensively. He had 18 points in the game with three made three pointers. Overton said Stammen wants the team to follow his lead when he can start getting into an offensive groove, not rely on him.
“When he gets going, it’s good for us. But guys are like, ‘Alright Garrett. Let’s go Garrett’. What he’s trying to do is encourage his teammates and feed off of that. Guys are like, ‘Good, Garrett’s lights are on. Maybe we don’t have to do as much’,” Overton said. “That’s just me calling a spade a spade.”
Ansonia inched closer to Fort Loramie in the fourth quarter by getting to the free throw line, but the team couldn’t string together enough plays to take a lead.
Senior Ian Schmitmeyer had eight points and junior Jakob Creager had one point.
Ansonia finished the 2022-23 season with a 13-10 record and a 5-6 conference record. Overton said the kids made huge progress throughout the season.
The program will have all but two players return with more players coming up from junior varsity. Overton said while they will miss Schmitmeyer and Moody, Ansonia is here to stay.
Overton said Fort Loramie is a great program and he believes they can get to their level. In his first year, he took a roster that went 7-15 and won 13 games with them.
He will look to take the program to the next step next season. Overton is grateful for the opportunity to bring the community a winning boys basketball program.
“I want to give out a special thanks to the community of Ansonia for giving me a chance,” Overton said.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]