ANNA — In a game postponed one day due to a storm-related power outage at Anna High School, Melissa cruised past Anna, 63-34, on Wednesday, Feb. 7. After Tuesday night’s cold, nasty line of thunderstorms knocked out power at AHS, bathing the Lady Cards-Lady Coyotes game in darkness, the remainder of that contest and the Cards-Coyotes match to follow were pushed to Wednesday.
It was a jolt to everyone’s schedule and routine, not the least of whom was one Eric Benton, head coach of Melissa. “Personally, I’m a huge creature of habit,” he said after the Cards’ victory. “So everything with the last 24 hours has really thrown me off. And because it throws me off, I worried it’s going to throw us off. But I’m going to really brag on our guys: It didn’t faze them at all. We came out and set the tone from the start with a ton of energy. It’s probably a good lesson for me: If it’s not going to affect the guys on the floor, why am I letting it affect me? I was really proud of how we came out.”
The win was crucial for the Cards (5-3) who kept pace with Aubrey in second place, two games back of Celina with a pair of district games left. With the loss, the Coyotes remain winless in district play.
Guard Junior Castleberry led Melissa with 16 points, including 11 in the first quarter when he bombed in three treys as the Cards built at 21-2 lead. Guard Brendon Lewis and forward Josh Wood were next for Melissa with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“You’ve got to give it to Melissa,” Anna head coach Kyle Phifer said. “They came out and competed. They kind of wanted it more than us, I felt like. I thought they got all the loose balls. I didn’t think we did a very good job of competing tonight. We’ve got to get better.”
Guard Bullet Geer posted a team-high 10 points for Anna while fellow guard Gavin Reno chipped in nine.
The Cards got out to 15-0 lead before Anna found net on Geer’s jumper from the lane with two-plus minutes left in the first stanza. Besides Castleberry’s opening salvo, guard Matt Holloway and Lewis collected two first-quarter buckets each and Wood added another.
In the second period, Anna guard Micah Cotton canned a 3 from the right corner to cut Melissa’s advantage to 23-5 but guard Mark Fisher answered back with a deep one from the right side. Soon after a Reno trey, Melissa moved to a 33-14 lead on Wood’s layup off a Lewis assist. Holloway closed out first-half scoring with a layup after a Wood steal and the Cards led, 35-15.
Castleberry and Reno traded 3s in the third frame as Melissa built the Coyotes’ deficit to 49-22. The Cards began the fourth with a 7-0 run that included four-straight Chase Mapps free throws and a running jumper from the lane by Fisher. After Geer’s 3 off the glass made it 58-32, Melissa guard Ezra Monroe lofted a reply from downtown that touched only net.
Jayden Rogers’ layup for Anna provided the game’s final margin.
Anna scorers: Bullet Geer 10, Gavin Reno 9, Micah Cotton 7, Jackson Vandagriff 2, Jaedin Victorian 2, Jayden Rogers 2.
Melissa scorers: Junior Castleberry 16, Brendon Lewis 11, Josh Wood 10, Matt Holloway 8, Mark Fisher 6, Chase Mapps 4, Ezra Monroe 4, Hunter Sparks 2, Cole McCraw 2.