LEONARD — Anna’s Coyotes cruised to a 67-27 win over Honey Grove in the opening game of the Leonard Holiday Tournament for both teams on Wednesday, Dec. 27. Senior guard Emmonte Davis led Anna with a game-high 13 points and guards Noah Palshaw and Micah Cotton were next with nine and eight points, respectively. Guard Elijah Patterson tallied a team-high 11 points for Honey Grove.


The Class 2A Warriors (7-7) owned a 19-16 lead after one quarter but the Coyotes locked things down the rest of the way, allowing Honey Grove just eight more points. In the fourth stanza, the Warriors were shutout, 14-0.


The Coyotes (4-11) hadn’t played or practiced since falling big to Van Alstyne on Dec. 19 and the smile on Anna head coach Kyle Phifer after this one said it all: Winning is good. “The kids came out and played hard,” he said. “We needed that. … We hadn’t touched a basketball or done anything for the last week (due to UIL rules). You’re always a little scared about how they’re going to come out. I thought in the first quarter we were sloppy then we started figuring some things out and we ended well. … We turned them over a lot, especially after the first quarter. We’re trying to do some different things right now and the kids are still figuring out how to do it. We didn’t really have time to practice it because we had two games today. We’re having to learn it in the games. It’s different.”


After Palshaw opened the second frame with a layup off Gavin Reno’s steal and assist, Reno put Anna up for good, 21-19, with a deep-corner 3. Jaedin Victorian’s layup off a Palshaw assist came next followed by Davis’ steal that eventually earned a put-back layup from Palshaw. Cotton’s steal and layup moved the Coyotes’ lead to eight before Victorian completed Anna’s 10-0 run with a rebound put-back bucket and the lead was 29-19.


The Warriors’ subsequent layup — their only points of the quarter — came with about 1:30 left in the half. Palshaw answered it with a layup of his own and Anna’s advantage was back to 10. Coyote Hunter Lebo’s shot from the left side wouldn’t go as the buzzer sounded and Anna hit the break, up 31-21.


Early in the third quarter, Reno went down hard under the Coyotes’ basket while chasing a loose ball. After a few moments he was able to walk off the court and did return later. The Warriors got within eight points of Anna in the frame, at 33-25, before the rout was on in earnest. Highlighting the Coyotes’ ensuing 16-0 run were treys by Jackson Vandagriff and Josh O’Bier, and Cotton’s rebound and coast-to-coast layup. Lukas Peacock added two free throws and a layup.


With the Coyotes up 57-27 in the fourth, Davis erupted for Anna’s final 10 points — hitting on two layups, a jumper in the lane, a 3 from the left side and a free throw.


Anna scorers: Emmonte Davis 13, Noah Palshaw 9, Micah Cotton 8, Jaedin Victorian 8, Gavin Reno 7, Hunter Lebo 7, Josh O’Bier 5, Lukas Peacock 5, Jackson Vandagriff 3, Bullet Geer 2.