WEST ALEXANDRIA – Ansonia came into Thursday’s game riding a two-game winning streak, including a solid 87-41 win over rival Mississinawa Valley.
That win put the Tigers at 9-10, just one win away from a .500 overall record and making them 5-5 in the Cross County Conference standings. So that gave the team plenty of incentive coming into Thursday’s game.
Finally it was senior night at Twin Valley South so that gave Ansonia a chance to play the role of spoiler for the night. Ansonia seniors Stefani Garret, Jailyn Thwaits and Ashton Bradham also received a rose courtesy of host TVS before the game.
Then it was time to get to the business of basketball. The Tigers threw a press and an aggressive 1-2-2 zone at the Panthers. South led briefly out of the gate, but the Tigers set the pace for the rest of the night and the Panthers would spend the rest of the game playing catchup. The Tigers would go on a run and get a double-digit lead, and then the Panthers would go on a run of their own to close the gap. This happened consistently all night long.
At the half it was Ansonia leading 31-24. The Tigers rebounded well and shot better from outside. They hit six shots from behind the arc, taking advantage of South’s zone defense. Twin Valley South did not shoot well from outside for most of the game although Mylan Crews hit two 3-pointers from well behind the arc when South was trying to make a run late in the fourth quarter. More over scoring was well balanced. There were three players in double figure for the Tigers – Katie Werts, Trinity Henderson and Bailey Stammen. One player can be shut down, but it is hard for a defense to shut down an entire team that is shooting well.
South did make a vigorous run at Ansonia in the last quarter. The Panthers went to the press and finally had to begin fouling in the last quarter. Ansonia shot well enough from the charity stripe to keep South at bay and even its record at 10-10 with a 57-47 victory.
“I thought that South had a very scrappy ball club,” Ansonia coach Jim Bolin said. “They would fall behind and then climb right back into it every time. For being a young team they did well. I think that they are going to have a good team in the future. It was a good game for us – having balanced scoring like that. It has been our goal all year to do that – get at least four players in double figures. We have the personnel to do that. It just took until late into the season for all of them to do it.
“We had to change up our offense in the second half,” Bolin said. “You have to hand it to South; they made it hard to run our offense. We also went into a 2-3 zone in the second half. South was having to score inside, and we tried to take that away from them. It was good to even up the record at 10-10, but we close out the season against two good teams – Parkway and Arcanum. Parkway will be a big physical MAC team so we need to be at our best this Saturday. Last year we lost in overtime, so we are glad to have another chance at them.”
Ansonia scoring: Garret 6, Werts 12, Thwaits 7, Henderson 20, Stammen 12
TVS scoring: Crews 17, Shafer 16, Hutchings 6, Robertson 4, Johnson 4