ANNA — Anna’s young team is still growing and learning, as expected this season after losing seven seniors from last year’s district-championship squad. On Friday, Jan. 12, at home, it was a veteran Aubrey team with size that provided a measuring stick as the Chaparrals (13-6, 1-0) claimed a 72-47 district-opening win over the Coyotes, (5-15, 0-1).


The lesson this night for Anna head coach Kyle Phifer’s charges? “I thought, No. 1, it was the turnovers,” he said. “That was the difference in the game. We turned it over way too much. (Aubrey’s) first 10 points came from turnovers. You’ve got to take care of the ball, you’ve got to value the ball. That comes with having a young group. They just have to learn that. But their effort was unbelievable. They continued to play hard to the very end. We got better. There were no attitude issues. They continued to fight and that’s something you’ve got to like.”


Guard Noah Palshaw led Coyote scorers with 11 points and guard Micah Cotton was next with nine. Hayden Smith pumped in 19 points to lead the Chaps.


Aubrey head coach Kyle Smith said he liked his team’s energy. “And, to be honest, we’re intimidated by this gym. We’ve never shot well here. It’s a mental thing to us now. In the first half we were 1-of-11 from 3-point range. So I told them, ‘We’ve got to get to the paint. We’re just going to attack the glass, attack the glass, because a layup is a layup in any gym.”


“I was proud of our defensive effort,” Smith added. “(Anna) is young — they are — and I think this coach is doing a great job with them. … We wanted to try to really take advantage of that and get them to turn the ball over. When we were in a half-court set, they played with us. We won the transition game, but in the half-court set they played with us.”


The Chaps built a 37-19 lead by halftime and swelled that margin till the end. The Coyotes opened the third quarter on a positive note with forward Jaedin Victorian taking it to the hoop for 2 then draining his awarded free throw. But five Anna turnovers over the next four minutes — including four Chap steals — boosted Aubrey’s advantage to 48-24. The Coyotes battled with a put-back layup from Lukas Peacock, a Jayden Rogers layup and Gavin Reno’s trey from the right side of the key, but as the third frame ended the Chaps led, 55-33. In the fourth, Palshaw swished a 3 from the deep left corner to make it 68-45 and Reno followed with a layup, but two more Aubrey layups would provide the final margin.


On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Anna closed out its non-district slate with a 32-28 win at Class 3A Lone Oak. Guard Bullet Geer led Coyote scorers with 10 points, erupting for all 10 in the decisive fourth quarter. The Coyotes led 16-12 at halftime and 18-17 after three quarters.


Anna scorers from Aubrey-Anna: Noah Palshaw 11, Micah Cotton 9, Gavin Reno 5, Bullet Geer 5, Jaedin Victorian 5, Jayden Rogers 5, Lukas Peacock 4, Jackson Vandagriff 3.


Anna scorers from Lone Oak- Anna: Bullet Geer 10, Noah Palshaw 8, Micah Cotton 8, Hunter Lebo 2, Gavin Reno 2, Jayden Rogers 2.