ANDERSON, Ind. — On a night set aside to celebrate the city’s basketball past, the current Anderson boys team provided hope for the future.
The Indians outlasted North Central Conference rival Muncie Central 59-57 in overtime, snapping a five-game losing streak without the services of leading scorer Kenya Wilkerson.
“Obviously, we play better at home,” Anderson coach Joe Nadaline said. “We’ve gotten beaten by some pretty good teams in the past couple weeks. This was a great atmosphere, and our guys really responded.”
The outcome was in doubt until the final seconds when the Bearcats’ Joe Williams drove for an open look at the basket. His layup from point-blank range rolled off the side of the rim, and Grant Bennett pulled down the rebound to seal the victory for the Tribe.
“It was nice to see one roll off the rim inside of rolling inside,” Nadaline said. “It’s something to build on.”
Bennett finished with team highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 3-for-5 from 3-point range and helping Anderson erase a 10-point second-quarter deficit.
FreSan Reese capped an 11-0 run to end the half with a steal and layup to give the Indians (7-10, 2-4 NCC) a 31-30 advantage at intermission.
The teams traded the lead back and forth in the third quarter before the Tribe pulled away toward the end of the period and took a 42-38 edge into the final stanza.
Muncie Central (7-7, 2-3) regained the lead at 49-48 with less than three minutes to play in regulation on a basket by freshman Trenton Hatfield. Thomas Wells, who shot 8-for-10 at the free-throw line and finished with 12 points, tied the game by making one of two attempts with 2:23 to play.
Nearly a full minute later, Wells stole the ball and score to put the Indians back in front.
Jay’lin Barnes tied the game again with a putback at the opposite end, but Reese’s jumper in the lane put Anderson back in front at 53-51 with 9.2 seconds remaining.