UNION CITY – It was the annual Mississinawa Valley versus Ansonia doubleheader, and after three games of basketball and a Hall of Fame induction the feature game turned out to be very entertaining and yet very strange.
The rain was falling and temperatures warming outside with a packed house on the inside generating heat, which eventually led to condensation putting moisture on the floor. It had reached a point where it couldn’t be kept dry.
Ansonia’s Hunter Muir fell down midway through the fourth quarter and more players were slipping. After one overtime didn’t settle the game, officials deemed it to be in the best interest of player safety to suspend the contest.
Administrators considered because it wasn’t a league game and difficult to re-schedule that it would end in a tie. Mississinawa won the league game at Ansonia played back on Dec. 15, 50-48. It was no surprise this game went to the wire.
Ansonia took an 8-2 lead on two triples from Devyn Sink and a fielder by Hunter Muir.
Senior post player Matt Slob scored 7 points including an and-one to give the Hawks the lead 9-8 and then Blake Scholl hit a triple to close out the first quarter with Mississinawa on top 12-8.
The second quarter mirrored what was happening outside as the two teams heated up and over the last three-and-half minutes it rained 3-pointers, lighting up like a scrolling LED New York Stock Exchange board as the lead went back and forth.
All of Ansonia’s points came from beyond the arch in the frame, and a total of nine 3-pointers in the first half. Sink had five triples, Hunter Buckingham two, and Brayden Swabb and Matthew Shook each had one trey to put Ansonia up at the half 29-28.
Mississinawa kept pace with the hot-hand from Blake Scholl on two triples and Ethan Bowman added 7 points.
The break cooled off Ansonia’s hot hand from the perimeter as the Tigers missed several attempts in the third quarter.
The only 3-ball in the third quarter came from the most unlikely player when DJ Howell was left open and let it fly to give the Hawks a 31-29 lead.
Howell scored an and-one moments later to put the Hawks up 36-32.
Ansonia answered with Muir taking the ball to the basket as the junior scored 5 of Ansonia’s 8 points in the period.
Howell’s 8 points helped Mississinawa stretch the lead to 40-37 at the end of the third quarter.
Sink, who was held scoreless in the third period, re-appeared, tying the game with a triple to start the fourth quarter.
Bowman followed with an old-fashioned 3-pointer to go back up 43-40.
It was a packed house and a huge crowd on both sides and the gym was rocking all night with every big play or lead change each side stood up screamed, hollered, stomped their feet or threw arms up in the air to show pride for their team.
That scenario played out several more times in a very low scoring fourth quarter.
Blake Scholl put the Hawks up 45-44 at 1:26 and Sink answered with his seventh triple of the night to put the Tigers back up 47-45.
Alex Scholl, who was in foul trouble most of the night, rebounded a missed shot and got the put-back to tie the game again at 47 with 47 seconds to play.
Ansonia then worked the clock until senior Trevor Alexander saw an open lane and took the ball hard down the center. He was fouled at the rim with 12.9 seconds to play.
Alexander made one-of-two free throws to give the Tigers a 1-point lead.
The Hawks got the ball to mid-court and called a timeout. The inbounds pass came into Blake Scholl, who had a hot hand, took the shot, but it came off the rim into Alex Scholl’s hands, and he was fouled on the stick-back attempt.
Alex Scholl made the critical first toss to tie the game with a chance to win it, but the second toss rattled out, and the game went to overtime.
Overtime mirrored the rest of the game as the lead went back and forth, much like a Catholic ceremony with both sides standing up and sitting down after every lead change.
Alexander scored 5 points in the overtime period to put Ansonia on top 53-52.
With 8.9 seconds to go Aydan Sanders stepped to the line and made the first free throw and missed the second that bounced off to Bowman.
Bowman, who has made a few last-second game winners, let it fly in from 25 feet. It found nothing but the bottom of the net, sending the Nest into absolute pandemonium as Mississinawa went up 55-54 with 2.4 seconds left to play.
If you thought the game was over, well, you would be wrong. Mississinawa pressured the inbounds pass, and Slob ran right over Sanders, who was setting a screen. He was shook up on the play so Ansonia had to substitute a player to shoot the two free throws.
Freshman Reece Stammen, who was cold and off the bench, missed the first free throw and had all the pressure squarely on his shoulders. The young man was true on the second attempt, tying it at 55, and the game was set to go into a second overtime.
Officials then met and surveyed the floor one more time, and after numerous attempts to towel the floor dry decided it wasn’t enough and suspended the game.
Much to the displeasure of many but in the best interest of the players the game wouldn’t go into a second overtime. No matter what decision was made no one would be happy. It was history in the making. For those who watched and participated it will be something they will talk about for years to come.
Both teams had their chances to make plays to win it, but in the end it turned out to be the game no one could win.
Ansonia was led by Sink with 21 points, Alexander 10 and Muir had 9. The Tigers are 8-7-1 overall and 5-4 in the conference and will play at Covington on Friday.
Mississinawa Valley got 18 points from Bowman, 13 from Blake Scholl and 11 from Howell. The Hawks are 8-6-1 overall and 5-3 in conference and will play at Lehman on Tuesday night.
Score by quarters:
AN … 08 … 21 … 08 … 11 … 07 – 55
MV … 12 … 16 … 12 … 08 … 07 – 55
Ansonia – Sanders 1, Devyn Sink 21, Stammen 1, Buckingham 7, Swabb 3, Shook 3, Muir 9, T Alexander 10; Totals 11-7-8/19 – 55
Mississinawa – Ethan Bowman 18, Trent Collins 2, Alex Scholl 3, DJ Howell 11, Matt Slob 8, Blake Scholl 13; Totals 6-14-9/15 – 55