ANNA – This one didn’t get away.
Three days after seeing their early lead evaporate and falling to North Lamar, Anna’s Coyotes bounced back from a lost lead on Jan. 7 to dominate Farmersville, 64-49. Guard Micah Cotton pounded the Farmers for 18 points while guard Kamden Spence tallied nine. Anna big men Jackson Vandagriff, back from injury, and Jayden Rodgers added eight points each.
The Coyotes led, 33-28, at halftime and their advantage grew to 54-43 after three quarters with aggressive rebounding and timely 3s. With the win, Anna finishes non-district play with a mark of 12-10 and will travel to face Melissa in the district-opener on Friday.
“We shot it well,” Coyotes head coach Kyle Phifer said. “We had a lot of different people contribute. I thought the ball moved around extremely well. We have a lot of people starting to play well at the right time.” Guard JC Campbell, in his second varsity start since being called up from JV, came off the bench for nine points and looked quite comfortable. “He’s settled in,” Phifer said. “He’s a really good player. He’s definitely going to start finding some minutes.” Rodgers, also off the bench, provided some tough minutes inside. “He was finishing with some heart,” Phifer said. “When he plays hard, he’s really good. He’s getting himself in shape and he did a lot of good stuff, for sure.”
Farmersville’s Sloan Thomas, with four 3s, posted a team-high 16 points.
Two Cotton 3s and a Vandagriff trey sparked Anna to a 13-6 first-quarter lead, but the Farmers (6-15-1) chipped back. Thomas got hot from beyond the arc and drained back-to-back downtowners to get Farmersville within 15-12. Soon Michael Bagwill popped a right-corner 3 to cap the Farmers’ 11-4 run to 17-all. Another Bagwill trey at the buzzer gave the visitors a 20-19 edge after one.
With the loss to North Lamar perhaps on their minds, the Coyotes bore down in the second frame. First, Rodgers took it down the lane for a straight-on layup and a 21-20 Anna lead. From there, three Coyote steals ensued - two by Noah Palshaw, one by Cotton - as Anna’s margin surged back to seven, 27-20. After two missed Coyote 3s on one possession, Thomas struck again from downtown and the Farmers were within one, at 27-26 - but Anna would not be tied or trail again. The Coyotes’ reply included a Spence put-back layup and Campbell’s stop-and-pop jumper in the lane. Spence followed with a fast-break pass to Jaden Adams for 2 more with under a minute left in the half and that 33-28 lead held up till the break.
To open the third quarter, Rodgers muscled a put-back layup and Palshaw sank a 2 from close range for a 37-28 Anna advantage. Rodgers came back with another high-traffic bucket before Vandagriff’s top-of-the-key 3 sent Farmersville’s deficit to 42-32 midway through the frame. After a Campbell right-corner trey kept the Coyotes’ margin at 10, 47-37, Cotton nabbed a steal for a coast-to-coast layup. Josh O’Bier’s pilfer job and feed to Spence soon pushed Anna’s lead to 51-39. Spence’s big 3-pointer closed out the third with the Coyotes up by nine.
The Farmers bagged a 3 to start the fourth stanza, but Rodgers answered with a steal and court-length drive for 2 and a 56-46 lead. Farmersville never drew closer than eight points the rest of the way as buckets by Bullet Geer, Campbell and Cotton kept up Anna’s offensive pressure.
In assessing his team at the threshold of district play, Phifer said, “If we get some stops, I think we’ll find ourselves in a lot of games. We still have four juniors and four sophomores who are still figuring some things out. But at times I feel like we’re pretty good.”
Farmersville 20 8 15 6 - 49
Anna 19 14 21 10 - 64
Anna scoring – Micah Cotton 18, Kamden Spence 9, JC Campbell 9, Jackson Vandagriff 8, Jayden Rodgers 8, Noah Palshaw 4, Jaden Adams 4, Bullet Geer 4.