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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Anderson wins holiday tournament, Flat Rock loses a pair (PHOTO)

Sam Mazur (4) and the Anderson Titans beat River Rouge in the semifinals and Warren Regina in the finals of the Southgate Holiday Tournament last weekend. Photo by Larry Caruso

The Anderson girls’ basketball team was projected to have a good year. And with a 7-0 record, they’re doing exactly that.

The Titans faced some of their biggest competition yet over the weekend and prevailed in both games to win the third annual Southgate Holiday Tournament.

It was the first time the hosts had ever won.

In Friday’s semifinal, the Titans knocked off River Rouge 49-45 in a game that was never really in danger of losing.

Anderson jumped out early and led 16-6 after the first, 28-12 at the half and 41-22 at the end of three.

Rouge hit five three-pointers in the final quarter, but the Titans got the win.

Rebounding and defense have been Anderson Coach Larry Sakalas’ focus this season and the Titans took care of both over the weekend.

Anderson held Rouge’s star player Star Harris to just eight points the entire game, and she had just two points in the first three quarters.

Anderson was led by its big four in the win.

Tinara Moore finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks and Leah Malam had 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Amani Corley finished with 13 assists and nine rebounds and Laekyn Jaciuk had two points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals.

Sakalas was also pleased with the work of his girls coming off the bench.

“I was happy with the way our bench played,” he said. “I thought they were aggressive and I thought they played yard.

“I had absolutely no complaints.”

In Saturday’s final, the 6-0 Titans knocked off a 4-1 Warren Regina for the championship in a 49-40 win.

Sakalas said he knew it would be a tough game and his team talked about just finding a way to come out on top.

“It was one of those games that is kind of like districts,” he said. “Find a way to win. Win and advance; doesn’t matter if it’s an ugly win or a pretty win as long as it’s a win.

“They’re a very disciplined basketball team and they do things very well. I knew it was going to be a big challenge for us because of how disciplined they are.”

But the defense came up big again for the Titans as the team held Regina’s star player Emily Davis, who was averaging 13 points a game, to just three points.

“That was very, very big for us,” Sakalas said.

It was a battle that saw an 8-8 tie after one quarter before the Titans pushed their lead to 22-17 at the half.

The third quarter proved to be the turning point. Down by five points, Regina came out and scored four unanswered points in the third quarter to make it a one-point game. But the Titans took over from there, scoring four of their own and winning the quarter 12-5 for a 34-23 advantage heading into the half.

“We answered right back and scored four of our own and locked down defensively,” Sakalas said. “That’s the quarter that basically made the difference in the game.”

The Titans added 17 points in the final eight minutes but only scored one field goal.

The team was 15-for-18 from the foul line to extend its lead for the win.

Jaciuk was four-for-four, Corley and Moore were five-for-six and Malam was one-for-two.

Leading the Titans was Corley with 20 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals and one block.

Moore had another monster game with a triple-double of 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks.

Jaciuk finished with eight points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals, Malam had five points, eight rebounds and three blocks and Sam Mazur finished with five rebounds and one block as the fifth starter.

The win was more special for the team who lost the championship game to Regina last season.

With the win, the Titans improved to 7-0, a feat Sakalas has never accomplished.

The team has had much success in the first few weeks of the season, but Sakalas is still looking to improve.

“I’m pretty happy winning our tournament for the first time,” he said. “But right now we’re still got stuff we need to improve upon.

“We still wanna keep our defense up (and) we’ve been working really hard. Our rebounding has been very good up to this point and our scoring has been really good.”

The Titans played Eaton Rapids on Monday in the Motor City Roundball Classic and will dive right back into Downriver League play after the holiday break.

Flat Rock

With every loss comes a learning experience and that was the case over the weekend when the Flat Rock girls’ basketball team suffered its first two losses of the season.

The Rams played two of the better teams in the state and fell 65-22 to Flint Powers Catholic and 67-22 to Detroit Country Day.

“They were really good,” Flat Rock Coach Marc Villemure said about his team’s opponents. “They play really well and I don’t think we played all that great.

“The combination is a bad loss.”

Against Flint Powers, the Rams were never able to score more than nine points a game. A rough first-quarter deficit was extended to 39-12 at the half and the Rams only managed 10 total points in the second half.

Paige Villemure led the way for Flat Rock, scoring 12 points and bringing down seven rebounds. She also had three blocks.

Morgan Villemure and Hannah Myre had five points each and Marina Steffke and Holli Rhodes each had two.

The following night it was a similar situation as Country Day jumped out to an 18-5 lead after one and led 32-13 at the half.

The Rams were outscored 35-9 in the second half in the loss.

Morgan Villemure led the way with eight points and she also had four boards and one block.

Paige Villemure finished with six points and led the glass with six rebounds.

Paige Nemeth had four points and Rhodes and Haley Carter each finished with two.

Villemure thought the effort was better against Country Day.

“It’s just hard to sustain it,” he said. “We just didn’t have the experience to hang long enough.

“They had a couple quick runs and it gets out of hand pretty quickly. It was a good learning experience and we’ll take something from it.”

Last Updated: 12/30/2013 12:02:12 PM EST

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