After two road losses last week, fifth-place Anna’s playoff hopes hung by a thread. On Feb. 5, first-place Celina powered past the Coyotes, 68-31, and at Sanger on Friday, the Indians came back to win, 46-42, staving off their elimination from the playoff picture.
Anna and Sanger had entered that contest tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in District 11-4A with two games left. Having defeated the Indians earlier in the season, another Anna win would’ve secured a post-season berth for the Coyotes. Anna led, 19-10, at halftime but Sanger (3-6) put on a 20-10 fourth-quarter surge to claim victory.
Zach Cochran led the Indians with 15 points and guard Micah Cotton’s 14 points paced the Coyotes (2-7). Anna still had a shot at the postseason with a win over Gainesville Tuesday and a Sanger loss to Aubrey (5-4). In that case, the Coyotes and Indians would meet again in a play-in game for the district’s fourth seed.
At Celina, the Coyotes ran into a team on its game and then some. The Bobcats (8-0) rolled from start to finish, with four Bobcats scoring in double figures. Celina led, 37-13, at the break then poured it on with a 23-8 third quarter. Bryson Brown posted a team-high 20 points for the Bobcats and Karson Stastny added 16. Celina’s Garrison Williams hit four 3-pointers enroute to 14 points.
Two district games remained after this one as the Bobcats continue to eye a possible unblemished district slate. “We’ve just got to stay focused on defense,” Celina head coach Bubba Stastny said. “We’ve been playing pretty good defense. The old cliché, defense wins championships - but you’ve still got to score. I don’t worry about offense because we’ve got some guys that can put it in the basket.”
For Anna, Cotton posted a team-high nine points and Jaedin Campbell added seven. Cotton, Jackson Vandagriff, Josh O’Bier and Jayden Rodgers each drained a 3 for the Coyotes.
“I think we had some guys step up – a couple of them, especially on the defensive end,” Anna head coach Kyle Phifer said. “In the second half, we really challenged them about competing on both ends of the floor. I think some of our young guys are still trying to understand that. Against a good team like them, if you rest for even a second all of a sudden you give up a wide open shot and they take advantage of it.”
Anna 11 8 13 10 - 42
Sanger 3 7 16 20 - 46
Anna scoring - Micah Cotton 14, Jackson Vandagriff 9, Jayden Rodgers 7, Bullet Geer 5, Josh O’Bier 3, Jaden Adams 3, Noah Palshaw 1.
Anna 8 5 8 10 - 31
Celina 17 20 23 8 - 68
Anna scoring - Micah Cotton 9, Jaedin Campbell 7, Jackson Vandagriff 5, Jayden Rodgers 5, Josh O’Bier 3, Bullet Geer 2.