ANSONIA – Ansonia jumped out to an early lead on Thursday night, which the Lady Tigers used to defeat Mississinawa Valley 58-44 in a Cross County Conference girls basketball game.
Ansonia scored the first seven points of the game between the neighboring rivals and led 14-5 at the end of the first quarter. From there the Tigers led by double digits the rest of the game.
“That’s what our game plan, was come out and get a big lead so we could get everybody in the game and have a little bit of fun,” Ansonia coach Jim Bolin said.
Brooke Neal got Ansonia on the scoreboard first with a pair of free throws, and then Bailey Stammen scored five consecutive points to make it a 7-0 game. Ansonia added more scoring from Abby Helmke, Aliya Barga and Stammen to build its 14-5 first quarter lead.
“We’ve got to quit letting our opponents having the lead right off the bat like that,” Mississinawa Valley coach John Hershey said. “We need to come out a little quicker.”
The Lady Hawks were limited to five points from Kelsie Hunt in the first period as the Tigers’ press stymied them.
“That’s the first time we really used it, and it worked out pretty good for us,” Bolin said of his team’s press defense.
Ansonia continued to add to its lead in the second quarter with Neal, Helmke, Stammen, Monica Stover, Barga and Ashton Bradham all scoring in the period to push the Tiger lead to 36-18.
Hunt continued to lead Mississinawa in the second quarter with Leslie Dirksen, Sidnie Hunt and Olivia Murphy also added to the team’s scoring.
Ansonia increased its lead even further in the third quarter with points from Helmke, Stefani Garrett and Neal. MV got scoring from Kylie Willis and Hunt to make it 51-29 through three quarters.
Mississinawa Valley’s best quarter of the night was the fourth quarter as the Hawks outscored the Tigers 15-7. Madison Stachler, Murphy, Dirksen and Hunt each scored for MV while Ansonia got points from Helmke and Jailyn Thwaits as the game ended with a 58-44 Ansonia victory.
Despite losing the game, Hershey said Mississinawa did some good things including finishing strong.
“Some of the things that we wanted to do tonight I thought we did real well,” he said. “Defense was real good. They scrapped hard. They’re playing hard. They’ll get better.”
Neal led Ansonia with 21 points in the win. Also for the Lady Tigers, Helmke scored 14 points, Stammen scored nine, Barga scored four, Bradham scored three, Thwaits scored three, Garrett scored two, and Stover scored two.
“Brooke’s doing real good for us about every game,” Bolin said. “I think she’s averaging 14 points a game. She’s had about three or four games with 20-something a game. Brooke’s doing real well. We’d like to get our scoring a little bit more balanced. We’re capable of having five people score in double figures, but we just haven’t got there yet.”
Hunt led Mississinawa Valley with a game-high 22 points.
“She’s going to have a bunch of those big nights, I’m quite sure of it,” Hershey said. “She gets in there, and she likes to mix it up with the big girls. I think she’s doing a real good job this year.”
Also for the Lady Hawks, Dirksen scored seven points, Stachler scored six, Murphy scored five, and Willis scored four.
Ansonia improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the CCC with the win while Mississinawa Valley fell to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the CCC. Ansonia will return to action at 1 p.m. Saturday with a varsity-only matchup at Yellow Springs while MV will play host to St. Henry at noon Saturday.
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.