SIDNEY – Ansonia couldn’t keep pace against a taller Botkins squad, losing 58-42 in the opening round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament on Saturday.
“We didn’t play our best game,” Ansonia girls basketball coach Jim Bolin said. “We got killed on the boards; that’s what it really boiled down to. We didn’t rebound like we should. We came out well out of the locker room to start the game, but I think we got tired, and we didn’t acknowledge that, and we didn’t come out when we should have came out and took a break. But we was getting killed on the boards, and then we started settling for outside shots instead of trying to work the ball in.”
Ansonia started out well, taking an 8-2 lead in the first 90 seconds of the game. After Botkins scored the first basket of the evening, Ansonia went on an 8-0 run with 3-pointers by Bailey Stammen and Abby Helmke plus an inside basket by Stefani Garrett, prompting a Botkins timeout.
From there the game started to turn with Botkins outscoring Ansonia 15-2 the rest of the first quarter with the Tigers only managing a Helmke basket.
Botkins added to its lead in the second quarter by outscoring Ansonia 17-9, making it 34-19 at halftime. The Trojans further added to their advantage in the third quarter as they limited Ansonia to just two Brooke Neal free throws, making the score 45-21.
Botkins was able to pull away from Ansonia by getting second-chance opportunities on offense.
“They was stopping their initial shot, but then after that they was getting four and five put-backs,” Bolin said. “You give a team four or five chances to put the ball back in they’re going to make one of them. They have a nice ball club. That wasn’t the Ansonia Tigers you saw today.”
The fourth quarter was Ansonia’s best of the night as the Tigers matched their offensive output from the first three quarters combined. Outscoring Botkins 21-13 in the period cut the deficit to 16 points but it wasn’t enough for Ansonia to win as the Tigers lost 58-42.
Neal led Ansonia with nine points in the sectional tournament loss. Also for the Tigers, Helmke scored eight points, Katie Werts scored seven, Aliya Barga scored six, Stammen scored three, Garrett scored two, Katie Overholser scored two, Jailyn Thwaits scored two, Kassy Wentworth scored two, and Trinity Henderson scored one.
Sarah Bergman led Botkins with 24 points in the victory. Also for the Trojans, Kayla Heuker scored 10 points, Paige Lane scored 10, Jenna Pitts scored six, Taira Greve scored four, Janell Greve scored two, and Casey Woodall scored two.
Ansonia finished the season with a 12-11 overall record this season.
“Overall I think they accomplished some things,” Bolin said. “They had a winning season. They finished fourth in the conference. So they did build on last year’s season. We’ve been here three years now, and we’ve improved each year.”
The Tigers will lose three seniors from this year’s team to graduation: Helmke, Neal and Overholser.
“You can’t replace kids like that,” Bolin said. “You just have to fill the holes with somebody else next year. And I do think we have potential of having people step up and filling the holes.”
With a strong core coming back plus a good group of junior varsity players coming up, Bolin is feeling confident that the Tigers can continue to improve next season.
“We have a whole lot coming back, and we had a nice JV season, was 15-5 with the JVs,” he said. “So we’re looking forward to having a good season next year. The kids just have to get out this summer and work hard and get in the gym.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.