CLAYTON — Anna opened Division III sectional tournament play on Saturday at Northmont’s Thunderdome against the Carlisle Indians — the ones from Carlisle, Ohio, not the ones of who achieved collegiate football fame with the likes of Jim Thorpe.
Although with the task Anna presented, the No. 21 seed Indians probably could have used the help of an athlete like Thorpe. Even that may not have been enough against the No. 1 Rockets, though.
Anna took control early and rolled over Carlisle to an 82-54 victory in what was a dominating performance in nearly every facet.
Carlisle shot 50 percent from the floor for the game but even still could do little to slow down the Anna. The Rockets scored bucket after bucket on fast breaks, stole the ball repeatedly and even had a couple of dunks.
“That is what we wanted to do,” Anna coach Nate Barhorst said. “Get out in a faster pace and make shots. We did not shoot it that well in the first half but got a lot of looks. A fast-pace game fit our style much better.”
With Riley Huelskamp scoring 11 first-quarter points, Anna took a 23-13 lead. Huelskamp, a junior guard, nailed three 3-pointers and two free throws to help the Rockets break open Carlisle’s zone.
Anna junior guard Bart Bixler made a driving layup to help lead a strong start to the second quarter. The Rockets led 27-13 with six minutes left.
Senior post player Griffin Doseck got in the act later by making two quick baskets to help Anna extend its lead to 38-22 at halftime.
Doseck had 12 points and six rebounds in the first half. Though Carlisle shot well, it often wilted under Anna’s usual stout defensive pressure and had many turnovers.
The Rockets really got going in the third quarter as they pushed the ball up the floor quickly. Junior guard Isaac Lininger made two early jumpers, and the rout was on.
After a missed shot, Doseck rebounded the ball and passed it to a wide-open Bixler for a driving layup, which helped push the lead to 46-26.
After hitting a jumper, Doseck drilled a 3 and then followed with two dunks. Huelskamp and Lininger also nailed 3s to help push the advantage to 68-40 heading into the fourth.
Doseck had a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
“Griffin Doseck is a great player. An MVP-type. He does everything well,” Barhorst said.
Bixler finished with 15 points and Huelskamp went 5 for 8 from the 3-point line and made a two-pointer to gather 17 on the night. Also in double figures was Isaac Lininger with 11 points.
Carlisle 6-foot-5 sophomore Nolan Burney had 11 points and senior Austin Redavide scored 15 in his last game for Carlisle. The Indians finish 5-17 overall.
Anna will look for a similar performance in a sectional semifinal on Thursday night against No. 22 Springfield Northeastern (4-18). The teams will square off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Northmont.
“We expect to see more zone coming from Northeastern,” Barhorst said. “They will try to slow it down. We need to work on fundamentals these three days of practice and we will be just fine.”