The only county or area teams in action Saturday were the Anna boys and Anna girls. And they both came away with impressive road victories.
The boys were in a battle with Marion Local, and pulled out a 58-54 victory, and the girls withstood a rally by Miami East to escape and remain unbeaten with a 54-48 triumph.
Anna boys 58, Marion 54
MARIA STEIN — The Anna Rockets led from the start, and had two double-digit leads in the second half. But they relinquished the lead with 2:30 remaining in the game, only to battle back and come away with their fifth consecutive victory Saturday night.
The win puts the Rockets at 6-2 on the year heading into a huge challenge Tuesday and Wednesday in the Versailles Holiday Tournament. The other three teams are 7-0 Miami East, 7-1 Chaminade and 7-1 Versailles. Anna is paired with Versailles in the second game Tuesday night.
“It was a battle,” said Anna head coach Nate Barhorst of Saturday’s win, which left the Flyers at 2-3. “In the fourth quarter, it became more like a football game. We had an opportunity to put the game on ice earlier in the fourth quarter but we missed some key free throws. We got behind but we hit some key shots and key free throws down the stretch.
Marion Local took its first lead of the game with 6:00 remaining in the final period, then went up three when Tyler Mescher scored with 2:20 remaining in the game to make it 51-48.
But at the other end, Kain Luthman drained a big three-pointer to knot the score, and that seemed to take the momentum away from the Flyers.
Blake Stephens hit one of two free throws to give the lead back to Anna, and after a Flyer miss, sophomore Wyatt Bensman was fouled on a drive and hit both free throws to make it 54-51 with :50 remaining.
Marion had two shots from three-point range, but couldn’t find the mark, and Luthman was fouled on a rebound. He hit both free throws to make it 56-51 with 30 seconds left.
Marion hit a three with six seconds remaining to make it a two-point game, but Anna withstood the late rally.
Luthman had a big game for the Rockets. He finished with 15 points on 5-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line, and also grabbed eight rebounds.
Stephens had 12 points and Bensman finished with 11, including 8-for-10 from the line.
The Rockets were 16-for-33 from the field for 49 percent and 21-for-32 from the foul line. The Flyers were 22-for-54 for 41 percent from the field and 7-for-15 from the line.
Leading Marion in scoring was Mescher with 17. Matt Kahlig added 13 points.
“We needed a game like this, just to see how resilient the kids are,” said Barhorst. “We were very happy with the poise the kids showed down the stretch. A lot of things didn’t go our way but the kids didn’t let it get them down.”
Anna (58) — Bensman 11, Huelskamp 8, Luthman 15, Stephens 12, Flesher 7, Frilling 5.
Marion (54) — Bruns 2, Griesdorn 9, Koenig 3, Homan 5, Mescher 17, Kahlig 13, Thobe 5.
Score by quarters:
Anna—14 28 45 58
Marion—6 25 37 54
Three-pointers: Anna 5 (Stephens 2, Luthman, Bensman, Huelskamp); Marion 3 (Thobe, Griesdorn, Kahlig).
Records: Anna 6-3, Marion Local 2-3.
Reserve score: Anna 57, Marion Local 52.
Anna girls 54, Miami E. 48
CASSTOWN — Anna had a double-digit lead in the third quarter, but the Miami East Lady Vikings fought back to make a game of it, pulling within two late in the final period.
But Anna’s Avery Bensman came up with a big steal and a layup, and the Lady Rockets hit their free throws down the stretch to keep their record perfect at 9-0.
Anna led 16-7 after a quarter, only to have the Lady Vikings start the second period on a 9-1 run to close within 17-16. But Anna regrouped and scored the next eight points in a row and wound up leading 25-17 at the half.
Miami East, now 7-4, fought all the way back from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter to knot the score at 40-40 with still 3:55 remaining on the game’s only three-pointer, by Morgan Haney.
But Holly Boyd put Anna back on top to stay with two free throws after an offensive rebound, then Bensman came up with her steal and layup to push the lead back to four.
After East hit two free throws, Bensman found Sarah Bettinger open inside for a four-point lead again, and Bensman then took over at the line, hitting all six of her attempts in the late going.
Bensman finished with a big game, scoring 23 points and snagging eight rebounds. She scored 12 points in the final period alone, and dropped in 11-of-12 free throws.
Nicole Barhorst and Claire Spicer added seven each.
Anna (54) — Bensman 23, Spicer 7, Barhorst 7, Boyd 6, Bettinger 6, Huelskamp 5.
East (48) — Haney 18, Hellyer 7, A. Kinnison 7, Howard 6, M. Kinnison 5, Thompson 3, Miller 2.
Score by quarters:
Anna—16 25 37 54
East — 7 18 29 48
Three-pointers: Anna 0, East 1 (Haney).
Records: Anna 9-0, East 7-4.