By Bill Cross
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — “Just one shot short” was Anderson’s coach Chad Cook’s response to the 42-39 girls basketball loss Thursday night to Indianapolis Pike.
It was a tough loss as it came on Senior Night for the Lady Tribe. In the end, it was senior Da’Sha Boyd’s shot that fell short but the effort did not. “The girls gave a lot of effort, played a lot of minutes tonight against a team that’s very sharp,” Cook said.
The Lady Tribe honored seniors Donjanae Chamberlain, Samia Carter, Chelsea Bentley, Da’Sha Boyd and Kez’Anique Gosha before the game. “Can’t talk enough about them,” Cook said of his senior class. “We had two (Carter and Gosha) that did not get a chance to play, but the ones on the floor played their hearts out, hands on their knees, exhausted.”
Anderson built an early lead on two baskets by Boyd but fell into a bit of rut. The shots were not falling and the Lady Tribe were having trouble penetrating the tall and long defense of the Lady Red Devils. Anderson trailed 24-17 at halftime, cutting four points off of an 11-point Pike lead late as Bentley carried the team over the final few minutes of the second quarter.
In the second half, it was a bit of a different story. Anderson started attacking the defense and shots started to fall. Bentley nailed a 3 to start the third to cut the deficit to four, but Pike was able to build a 10-point advantage. Anderson got to within five at the end of third quarter and Boyd brought Anderson to within three to start the fourth.
From that point, the dog fight was on. Points were hard to come by as the teams played tight defense. Anderson pressed with double team traps in an effort to turn the ball over for quick offense.
With Pike leading 38-32, Dabriona Williams hit two free throws and Anderson forced a turnover. Boyd made two free throws to cut the lead to two with 2:32 left. Following a Brittany Ward miss, the Lady Tribe grabbed the rebound and called time out.
Williams drained a 3 from the left wing with :55 to go in the game for Anderson’s first lead since a 6-5 edge in the first. Ward hit two free throws following a blocking foul on Boyd with :45 left to give Pike a one-point lead again.
After a time out, Williams drove the right side of the lane but was stripped of the ball by Aja Ladd. Ward was fouled and hit two free throws with seven seconds to go, setting up one last shot for Anderson. Boyd put up a 3 at the buzzer but it fell short.
For Cook, it was a good game to set Anderson up for the sectionals that start on Wednesday. “We want the game to be close like that against a good team to give yourself a chance to win,” Cook said. “We want to be playing against a team like that (Pike) to prove to ourselves we can play with the elite teams.”
The Lady Tribe (16-4) was led by Boyd’s 14, Bentley had 11 and Williams finished with 12. Pike (15-7) was led by Ward’s 18 points. Anderson will play Richmond in the second game at Connersville’s sectional next Wednesday.