BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Trailing 34-31 with 1:30 remaining, Anthony Wayne girls basketball scored the final six points to defeat Whitmer, 37-34, on Senior Night at the Dick Albaugh Physical Education and Athletic Center on January 12.
AW senior guard Kayla Crandall scored on a steal and layup, and then junior guard Sophia Schneider scored on another steal and layup with 45 seconds remaining to put AW up, 35-34.
Sophomore guard Mallori Pollock hit both ends of a one-and-one with 28.8 seconds remaining, and Schneider had another steal in the final seconds to take away the Panthers’ final chance to tie the game.
AW played its cards in the final minutes – they had not committed enough fouls to put the Panthers into the bonus.
As a result, hard fouls, sometimes leading to steals, kept the Panthers from generating any kind of offense.
AW coach Jami Carter said it was about composure, too.
“What we had to do at the end of the game was be comfortable with situations like that,” Carter said. “With us not practicing at times, it was hard for our kids to earn that win, so it was a great win for us.”
The Generals also had to make up for a significant size difference on both ends of the floor.
“They are really good at posting up,” said AW 5-foot-11 senior post Kelsey Ragan. “I think we learned a lot about trusting your teammates.
“We’ve had a stop-and-go kind of season so far, so this one we had to be confident that people are going to stay together and trust everyone to do their assignments. We did that well and that’s what led to the win.”
Schneider finished the game with a team-high nine points and six steals as the Generals’ defense forced 23 turnovers.
Ragan scored eight, senior guard Shelby Myers scored seven and Pollock scored five to aid the Generals’ effort. Crandall and junior guard Amelia Womack scored four apiece.
For Whitmer, freshman guard Sydney Borer scored 10 points, freshman guard Jada Shoup scored nine and junior forward Lia Rivers scored seven.
Annabelle Gogel, a 6-foot-3 junior center, scored one point but had 13 rebounds as the Panthers controlled the glass, 44-33. The 5-8 Shoup had eight rebounds.
Womack led AW with five rebounds, and Womack and Crandall had two steals apiece.
Part of the Senior Night celebration was the announcement that Ragan will play NCAA Division III basketball at Wittenberg University after graduating from AW.
“Both of my parents went there, and my dad played basketball and my mom played softball and volleyball there,” Ragan said. “My mom was an All-American and my dad and his team got to the final four.
“It’s changed a lot from when they went there, so the tour guide showed me a lot of things that are new there. Plus, I really want to study marine biology and they offer a minor in it.”
Ragan was happy to be playing high school basketball again after the Lucas County Health Department suspended sports for over a month.
“It felt so good. We’ve been waiting to do this for a month,” Ragan said. “So, it was nice just to get out there and put it away.”