BASKETBALL: Rockets hold off Trojans

BOTKINS — The Botkins Trojans made several runs.  

But Anna proved to be just too much as the Rockets cruised to a 73-61 win in a Shelby County League varsity boys basketball game Friday at Botkins High School.

The Trojans briefly took a 20-18 lead early in the second quarter when Tyler Egbert scored from the paint on back-to back trips down the floor and then connected on the second of a pair of free throws.

Anna answered back with a quick 10-0 run to take the lead for good at 28-20 and did what they had to to keep the lead from that point on. Botkins took several jabs to try and fight its way back into the game, but each time the Rockets came through with a clutch shot to keep a comfortable distance.

It was hardly the gem game of a successful season for the Rockets, but Anna varsity coach Nate Barhorst said he would take it.

“Surely you want to try and put a game away when you get the chance,” Barhorst said. “We had chances to do that tonight and we didn’t. A lot of that credit has to go to Botkins because they have some kids that will come right at you and attack the basket. But we had kids stepping up and making shots when we needed to stretch that seven point lead to 10.”

The Rockets hits six three-pointers on the night, and it seemed that all of them came at crucial times. Four of them came from post player Maverick Long.

“He is a tough matchup for us,” Botkins varsity coach Brett Meyer said. He hurt us all night long.”

Botkins made one last attempt to creep back in the game midway through the final period. Tyler Egbert hit a three-point shot and then hit a pair of free throws after drawing a foul while going up for a transition layup. Seth Hoying then promptly picked off a pass on the ensuing possession to bring the Trojans within six at 58-52 with 3:40 remaining.

However, the Rockets were able to secure the victory with clutch free throw shooting down the stretch, hitting 12-of-12 over the last three minutes.  They hit 21-of-23 overall for the game from the charity stripe.

“They hit their free throws when they needed to,” Meyer said. “Any time a team hits 21-of-23 they don’t leave you with many opportunities.

Tyler Egbert carried Botkins as he led all scorers with 27 points. Jay Meyer led Anna with 24 points, including 14 from the foul line. He was a crucial eight-for-eight from the line in the three minute stretch. Long had 24.

Botkins fell to 7-10 on the year. They are 4-7 in the Shelby County League. Anna is now 14-5 and 8-3.

The Trojans play tonight at Waynesfield. Anna hosts Jackson Center on Friday.