WEST ALEXANDRIA – It is tough to get a win on the road in the Cross County Conference and particularly hard to win at Twin Valley South.
Ansonia has been frustrated many times in West Alexandria over the years. But the Tigers came out of the locker room Tuesday on a mission and with quiet determination they expanded their 1-point halftime lead. And even after clearing their bench in the last minutes of the fourth quarter, they were able to drive away with a decisive win on the road over South, 60-46.
But in the opening quarter, Ansonia had difficulty finding its mark and shot cold from the field. Almost all of the Tigers’ scoring came from driving to the basket.
In the second quarter the Tigers finally warmed up and were able to keep pace with the Panthers. In addition, Ansonia was not getting many offensive rebounds – most possessions it was limited to just one shot. Still it was a close game at halftime.
Now that the shooters spent the first half getting warmed up, after halftime it was time to catch fire. The Tigers scored 21 points in the third quarter – 15 points were from behind the arc, easily their best quarter of the night. Devyn Sink, Brayden Swabb, Hunter Muir and Trevor Alexander all landed treys during this stretch in which the Tigers broke the game open. The Tigers would have four players in double figures by the end of the game.
“We challenged some guys in that locker room at halftime,” Ansonia boys basketball coach Chad Cramer said. “We have had a bunch of leads at the half that we just have not hung onto. I told them that we need some guys to step up and make plays – and they did. It was that simple. Our seniors stepped up and made some shots. Brayden Swabb was particularly aggressive. Sink had a good night. Some nights he gets fixed on the drive and other nights he gets fixed on his outside shot, but tonight he did both – he had a great game offensively.”
The defense was spot on as well. South was only able to score 9 points during this third quarter breakout. Ansonia played mainly man to man although it appeared the Tigers slipped into a zone a couple of times. Ansonia did a good job of closing out on Twin Valley South’s outside shooters, and the Ansonia defense kept South’s post player, Travis Lovely, from establishing any sort of offensive rhythm.
“We doubled Lovely some in the first half and it got him out of his game,” Cramer said. “We didn’t get there fast enough in the second half, but our inside defense was able to go one on one with him.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve won here. It’s a tough place to come and win. Tony Augspurger is a great coach – one of the best coaches in the league. He does a great job getting the most out of his guys. So it was a quality win for our team.”
The Tigers get to go round with another Panther on Friday when they play Tri-County North, who has been playing decent ball as of late.
“They have some skilled guards – the Stinson brothers (Brian and Dylan) are good and of course you have (Dillon) McCullough,” Cramer said. “We have to keep their dribble in front of us. Help and recovery is going to be important against them. I didn’t think we did a good job of that tonight. So that is something we will focus on.”