The Bearcats won on Senior Night after a tough loss earlier in the week to Richmond.
On Feb. 8, Anson traveled to Rockingham and lost 83-73. Anson got off to a good start, leading 21-14 after the first quarter.
The team utilized its full-court pressure defense to put the bigger Richmond team back on its heels. Anson played at “our speed,” according to Coach Matt Sides.
However, Richmond controlled the rest of the game, cutting Anson’s lead to one point at halftime and outscoring the Bearcats in the third and fourth quarters.
Anson had a tough stretch in the second quarter where they kept turning over the ball. The Raiders scored 22 points in the game off of turnovers.
“We were giving it away,” Sides said, adding Richmond deserved their fair share of credit for playing well.
With three minutes to go, the Bearcats narrowed the Raiders’ lead to three points from 11 but were unable to close the gap. Diondre Pratt scored 26 points while B.J. Tyson scored 19 points. Ryan Lisenby scored 11 points.
The Bearcats defeated Parkwood on Friday, 103-96 in a back-and-forth game.
Anson exploded just over three minutes into the first quarter when Diondre Pratt made back-to-back threes from the corner to swing the game from 5-6, Anson trailing, to 11-6 in 20 seconds. Twenty seconds later, Dekwan Burns made another three from the same spot.
Anson was executing its typical strategy of full-court pressure defense and a fast-paced running offense. Despite a technical foul, Anson maintained its momentum and took a 29-14 lead into the second quarter.
A combination of better defense from Parkwood and sloppier play by Anson allowed the Pirates to claw back to an eight-point deficit, 33-25. A brief surge by Anson was quelled again and a dunk by Pratt with five seconds left in the half was countered by a buzzer-beating three pointer from the Pirates. The score was 49-42 and both teams were there to play.
Each team battled to gain momentum in the third but Anson only managed to eke out another three points, leading 70-60 going into the fourth quarter.
Once again, the Bearcats surged to seize an 80-66 lead in just over a minute but the Pirates went on a 17-6 run in response over the next three minutes.
With 47 seconds on the clock, Parkwood narrowed Anson’s lead to two points. Pratt and Tyson each made critical free throws in the fianl minute to maintain the lead.
Pratt finished with 31 points. Tyson scored 23 points and had nine rebounds and nine assists. Sides praised Tyson for attacking the rim down the stretch.
Ezekiel LeGrande scored 12 points. Anson overall had very balanced scoring.
Sides said the key to the victory was establishing the team’s tempo. He said Parkwood played well and managed to keep Anson from putting them away several times.
He praised the Bearcats for attacking the basket, only gaining 15 points from outside the arc. He believes the team needs to improve its defense in a half-court set to go far in the playoffs.
Anson will travel to Weddington on Thursday to play the winner of Weddington and Porter Ridge. If they win, they will play Friday at Weddington in the Conference championship.
Both Anson varsity squads will host the first round of the state playoffs on Monday. The girls’ team will play at 6 p.m. while the boys’ team will play at 7:30 p.m. The second and third rounds are Feb. 22 and Feb. 24, other details to be determined.
Anson finished the regular season with a 17-7 record overall, 7-3 in the conference, good for first place among the 3-A teams in the conference.
The team’s seniors were honored at the beginning of the game. LeGrande, Pratt, Danny Bailey, Lisenby, Burns and Neal Huntley are the team’s seniors.