ANSONIA – A dominating defensive effort propelled the Ansonia girls basketball team to a 53-25 Cross County Conference victory against Mississinawa Valley on Thursday.
Thursday was the first time Ansonia held an opponent to fewer than 40 points this season after giving up more than 55 points per game in its first five contests.
“I was pleased with our defense,” Ansonia coach Jim Bolin said. “We’ve been working on our defense pretty hard. I think it’s been our downfall so far this year, but we’re getting better and better, and I was real happy with it.”
Mississinawa Valley was limited to single-digit scoring in all four quarters on Thursday and only had one girl finish the night with more than 3 points – Sidnie Hunt, who scored 13.
The Tigers’ defensive pressure, especially that of point guard Trinity Henderson, caused issues for the Blackhawks, Mississinawa Valley coach Vance Venesky said.
“Once there’s a point guard that has some ability that we’re playing, and their No. 3 caused some problems for us as far as defensively and offensively, so the girls have to figure out how to be able to run the offense when there’s a decent point guard that they’re facing,” Venesky said.
Both offenses got off to a slow start on Thursday with each team only making one basket in the first four minutes of game action. But then Ansonia ramped up its defensive pressure, leading to turnovers and fast-break scoring opportunities to help the Tigers build a 14-5 first quarter lead.
“We need those,” Bolin said of the fast-break scoring opportunities. “As you can see we’re not a real high-scoring ball club so if we can get some turnovers and create some offense off our defense that’s a plus for us.”
Mississinawa’s best scoring output of the night came in the second quarter when the Hawks scored 9 points, but Ansonia continued to get scoring chances off its defense and built a 33-14 halftime lead.
The scoring slowed down in the third quarter. Ansonia continued to build on its lead, though, pushing its advantage to 45-20. The Tigers ultimately won the game by 28 points, 53-25.
Though his team dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the conference, Venesky said he’s continuing to see progress from the Blackhawks.
“I thought the girls played better, more defensive-wise as far as some of the things we’ve been practicing and just concentrating on defense,” said Venesky, whose team plays at Bethel on Saturday. “Still the growing pains of them being young is still showing out there, but I thought overall they played a lot better than they’ve been playing the previous games so that’s a good thing on our part.”
Hunt finished the night with a team-high 13 points for Mississinawa Valley. Also for the Hawks, Dominique Champ scored 3 points, Kya Lavy scored 3, Olivia Murphy scored 2, Riley Price scored 2, and Taylor Stachler scored 2.
“I thought Sidnie Hunt is playing fantastic right now,” Venesky said. “We’re just trying to get her some help when it comes to the other girls. But Sidnie is a force to be reckoned with.”
Henderson led Ansonia with a game-high 16 points on Thursday. Also for the Tigers, Bailey Stammen scored 13 points, Kassy Wentworth scored 11, Katie Werts scored 6, Kierra Reichert scored 5, and Millie Widener scored 2.
Ansonia improved to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the CCC with Thursday’s win. The Tigers will put their two-game win streak on the line Saturday in a conference game against Newton.
“We have a tough ball game Saturday,” Bolin said of Saturday’s game, which will be played in Ansonia. “We’ve got Newton. That will be a handful for us.”
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.