LAPEL, Ind. — Anderson sophomore Thomas Wells didn’t start the first game of his varsity career Tuesday night at Lapel.
But he made sure he finished it.
Wells scored 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor and went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line as the Indians (1-0) found a way to hold off the Bulldogs (0-1) 54-47.
“I was just trying to play hard and just move the ball,” Wells said. “I was trying to work through the offense. I didn’t want to force anything.”
The 6-foot newcomer was front and center during the game’s decisive stretch.
With the score tied 47-47 and 1:32 remaining in the game, Anderson senior Kenya Wilkerson was called for a charge on a drive to the basket and fouled out. Moments later, junior Fresan Reese stole the ball from Lapel’s Brady Cherry, and Indians coach Joe Nadaline called time out.
Coming out of the break, Wells drove into the paint and threw up a ringer that fell through the net and appeared to give the Tribe the lead. But officials ruled a Bulldog foul had occurred on the floor and sent Wells to the free-throw line instead.
He made the first free throw and missed the second. This time, freshman Dejuan Peel came up big, stealing the ball at the other end of the court and flipping an outlet to Reese, whose jumper gave Anderson a three-point lead with 47.3 seconds to play.
Wells iced the game with four consecutive free throws in the final 22 seconds, and the Indians escaped with their first win.
“You don’t know where it’s going to come from with this team,” Nadaline said, noting Wells played very well. “The next game it could be somebody else. That’s the funnest thing about this team, it’s going to be a different guy every game.”