ANNA — Anna’s defense frustrated Fort Loramie’s normally fast-pace, quick scoring offense in a Shelby County Athletic League game on Thursday. Frustration didn’t prevent the Redskins from winning, though.
After the Rockets pulled as close as three points in the fourth quarter, Fort Loramie scored five unanswered points to close out a 43-35 victory in a crucial SCAL matchup.
Fort Loramie (10-1, 5-0 SCAL) is the last undefeated team in conference play after the win. The loss drops Anna to 9-2 overall and 5-1 in SCAL play. Every other league team has at least two conference losses.
Fort Loramie, which entered the game averaging 58 points per outing, finished the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 24-15 lead by halftime and led by 11 points after a 3-pointer by Taylor Ratermann midway through the third quarter.
Anna held the Redskins to two points the rest of the half and rallied. After Ava Sholtis made a basket with three minutes left to put Fort Loramie ahead 34-26, Kiplyn Rowland and Mary Landis each made a pair of free throws in the final three minutes to bring the Rockets within four points heading into the fourth quarter.
Breah Kuck made a 3-pointer with five minutes left in the fourth to bring Anna within 36-33, but Ratermann hit a 3 on Fort Loramie’s next possession to boost the lead back to six points. Kenzie Hoelscher made a basket in the paint on an inbounds pass with 2:51 left to increase the lead to 41-33.
Lauren Barhorst made a basket in the final minute to bring Anna within six points, and a travel later gave the Rockets another possession. They fired up a long 3-pointer, though, and Fort Loramie got the rebound. Hoelscher made two free throws in the final seconds to close it out.
Ratermann led the Redskins with 12 points while Hoelscher and Kennedi Gephart each scored eight. Barhorst led Anna with 14 and Ella Doseck added nine.
Neither team got into much of offensive rhythm as both largely shut down the post defensively and were relegated to passing the ball around the arc. Both squads were able to hit a fair amount of free throws; Fort Loramie was 11-of-13 from the free-throw line while Anna was 11-of-16.
The Redskins were able to make some baskets in the last three minutes of the second quarter to pull away.
Doseck made a free throw to bring Anna within 15-13 with 3:20 left in the second, but Marissa Meiring made a put-back 18 seconds later and Sholtis made a pair of free throws with 2:04 left to give Fort Loramie a 19-13 lead.
Ratermann hit a 3 for the Redskins, then Michaela Ambos made a basket in the paint with 1:35 left to break the scoreless streak for Anna and cut the lead to 22-15. Meiring scored a basket shortly after to boost the lead to 24-15.
Anna missed two one-and-one free-throw attempts in the final minute, and the halftime gap stayed at nine points.
Gephart hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to give Fort Loramie a 9-3 lead late in the first quarter, but the Rockets closed the gap in the second. Barhorst opened the quarter with a basket to shrink the lead to 9-6, then made a basket with 5:23 left to pull Anna within 15-12. Doseck made a free throw two minutes later to cut the gap to two points.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.