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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Anderson gets revenge on rival Warriors (PHOTO AND VIDEO)

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Since being eliminated in district play by Woodhaven last year, Larry Sakalas and his Anderson girls’ basketball team have been using their rival as a measuring stick and after being defeated by 19 points earlier this season, the Titans were more than ready when the Warriors came to call Friday night.

The Titans took a lead almost halfway through the first quarter and never looked back in their dominating 79-54 victory.

“We came to play tonight,” Sakalas said after the victory. “We believed in ourselves (and) we just worked hard.”

It looked like it was going to be a similar game to the last time the two teams met (65-46 Woodhaven victory) when the Warriors jumped out to a 5-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game.

But the Titan offense got to work and at the 4:32 mark took an 11-9 lead and never let it go.

Anderson put in shot after shot for the next three minutes and did not allow Woodhaven a point during that time.

Sakalas and his team had a plan for both their offense and defense coming into the game, and exceeded expectations.

“We wanted to hold them to under 55,” Sakalas said. “We wanted to score 60. I never thought in my wildest dream we’d put up 79.”

Anderson saw contributions from six players to take a 25-16 lead after just eight minutes, and kept building from there.

Amani Corley and Tinara Moore led the Titans all night and dominated in first half play. Together, the two accounted for all the Anderson scoring in the second quarter.

Moore finished the first half with 14 points, eight of them in the first quarter, and Corley contributed 16 points in the half, 10 of them in the second quarter.

“Amani had an enormous game. Tinara had an enormous game,” Sakalas said. “We also had great minutes out of Bailey Fast from the bench (and) great minutes out of Kelli Burton from the bench.

“Kelli Burton came in and hit two big three-pointers (and) Bailey hit a big three-pointer. It was just a team effort. Everybody stepped up and helped out.”

The Warriors pulled within 10 points several times throughout the contest and had many more free-throw opportunities than the Titans, where they shot 65 percent, while the Titans shot 67 percent.

The Warriors went 21-for-32 from the foul line, while the Titans only had six chances, but went 4-for-6.

Woodhaven took some time outs in the third quarter and started to put themselves back in the game, but triples from Burton and Fast kept the Warriors at bay.

Woodhaven Coach Doug Simons made a few adjustments at halftime that he thought helped his team out some, but said they still could not get back in the game.

“We made a couple of adjustments at halftime that I thought helped us a bit,” he said. “But we still couldn’t get over that eight points. If we would have got it to six or so, maybe they would have got a little tired or something, I don’t know.

“It’s hard to tell because we never put them in that mode where they were backpedaling at all. They took it to us all night long (and) we tried to respond, but id didn’t happen. It’s just what it is.”

The Titans led 41-27 at the half, but knew they could not take their opponents for granted. It was something Sakalas stressed in the locker room at the half.

“We said it;s 16 minutes. It means absolutely nothing. They were in the locker room (and) they were happy and they should have been happy,” Sakalas said. “But it meant nothing.

“Woodhaven’s a very good basketball team. They can be down 20 and be down four in a matter of two minutes. We just gotta keep working hard and keep battling them and that’s what we did.”

Despite falling behind early, the Warriors never gave up and fought hard to the end, but were unable to get the field goals in the second half.

Twelve of the team’s points in the second half came from free-throws, and only 15 from the field.

Cassie Breen led the Warriors in free-throws in the second half, going 6-for-7.

Brianna Brennan had a good night at the line, finishing 10-for-13.

Brennan led the Warriors with 18 points and also brought down nine rebounds.

Breen followed close behind with 13 points to go with her four rebounds.

Allison Manning recorded 10 points and Whitley Currie led the team with 12 rebounds, to go with her six points.

“We played well,” Simons said. “It was just one of those where they were ready. They were absolutely ready.”

Moore topped the scoreboard with her double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Corley followed with 22 points.

The win secured a share of the Downriver League title between the two teams, something the Titans were more than happy to end the game with.

“We were in our own gym and we play really well in our gym,” Sakalas said. “They play really well in their gym. It was a fun game and we enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was a great win for us and I’m very happy for my girls. They deserved it and they worked hard for it.”

Simons said he know how much the win meant to the Titans and said his team now knows what it feels like to be on the losing side of a 79-54 game, a score similar to what the Warriors usually hand their opponents.

“We knew this was a big deal for them,” Simons said. “They absolutely wanted this league title tonight and they showed it. They absolutely came out.

“And we were truly prepared for this game. It wasn’t like we came here thinking it doesn’t matter. We were ready to play, they just outplayed us.”

Despite the loss, Simons had no hard feelings for the Titans.

“Tip your hats to them,” he said. “Obviously they’ve got some good players.”

In the end, Simons said both teams deserved their share of the league title.

“They deserve it as much as we do,” Simons said. “When you look at the end; the two best teams tied for first place. That’s the way it should be.”

Simons said how the teams have the same league records this season and have essentially defeated the same teams by almost the same amount of points.

“We’re different types of teams, but I think we’re equal,” he said.

In two weeks, district play will start and make for an interesting time for the two teams.

Anderson has a bye in the first round, and should the Warriors defeat Roosevelt in the first round, the two teams will meet again with the Warriors looking for revenge this time.

Sakalas said his team will still be using Woodhaven as a measuring stick but that they have broke even with them now.

Simons thinks it should be a good match up.

“We’ll play the same way and hopefully it’s a different story,” he said.

Last Updated: 2/19/2013 12:07:52 PM EST