ANNA — Anna returns all of its starters from last season and is hoping to compete for the Shelby County Athletic League title this year. Perennial league power Fort Loramie showed the Rockets on Tuesday they have a lot of work left to do.
Fort Loramie used an often-suffocating defense to build a 16-point halftime lead and cruised to a 48-34 win.
“We have been telling our girls that they need to communicate more (on defense), and I thought that they did a good job of communicating and calling out screens,” Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel said. “I thought that we did a good job of helping and staying low.”
The Redskins are off to a hot start after beating Ohio Heritage Conference power West Liberty-Salem 50-31 on Saturday. Loramie returns three starters, including sophomore forward Marissa Meiring, who tore an ACL after the first six games last year and missed the rest of the season.
“I think we’ve been starting off games strong so far,” Meiring said. “It’s nice.”
Meiring helped Loramie (2-0) take control early and led the team with 13 points.
“She’s just fun to watch,” Siegel said of Meiring. “She gets her hand on the ball. Wherever the ball is, she’s there. It’s great to have a player like that. We’re lucky.”
Eight different players scored for Fort Loramie, including five in the first half. Kennedi Gephart had eight, while Heather Eilerman and Taylor Raterman had six.
Macey Huelskamp led Anna with 10 points. The Rockets fell to 0-2 with the loss. They lost a season opener last Friday to New Bremen 40-35.
Anna came as close as 12 points in the third quarter after a put-back at the buzzer by Emily Aufderhaar, but Loramie scored the first six points in the fourth quarter to re-take control.
Emma Freytag made a pair of free throws with about 2:40 left to pull the Rockets within 42-31, but Loramie finished the game on a 6-3 run.
“Anna is always a good team and always a big rival,” Meiring said. “When we come down here, it’s always (hard) to win. They put up a really good fight. They put some great pressure on us there, and we weren’t able to handle it at first, but finally after settling down, we were able to get back in our game.
Anna coach Jeff Maurer said he was pleased with how the team responded after halftime.
“We challenged them in the locker room at halftime,” Maurer said. “We just felt like (Loramie) was getting shots wherever they wanted to get them in their offense, and we challenged the girls to step up and do the things we do in practice. Obviously it’s not the outcome we wanted, but we did some things in the second half that we can build on.”
Anna struggled on offense in the first half and shot less than 20 percent from the field. Fort Loramie frequently clogged Anna’s passing lanes and dominated the boards to build a big lead by halftime.
“I think that we got Anna a little rattled,” Siegel said. “They seemed to be speeding up their shots a little bit. It really helps you when there’s a lid on the basket for another team. I feel like they were taking some good shots, and they just weren’t falling in for them. Luckily for us, we were getting the rebounds, which allowed us to get into our transition.”
Meiring made a layup with 3:45 left in the first quarter to give the Redskins a 6-0 lead. Abby Holthaus then scored back-to-back baskets for Loramie, and Alyssa Wrasman added a bucket with about 1:40 left to extend the lead to 12-0. Anna’s first basket came with 1:20 left on a 3-pointer by Breah Kuck.
Meiring added a basket on a put-back at the second quarter buzzer to give Loramie a 22-6 halftime lead.
Maurer said Anna’s inability to get rebounds and second-chance in the first half hampered the offense.
“We struggled on the boards, no doubt about it,” Maurer said. “Again, that’s something else we’ve got to get better at.”
Anna rebounded better in the second half and shot at a higher percentage, but outside of a short spurt at the end of the third quarter could do no better at stopping Loramie.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.