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Third time's a charm for Titans in district battle of DRL's best PHOTO GALLERY

  • The Anderson girls' basketball team celebrated a bit 57-42 win over DRL rival Woodhaven in Friday's district championship. The Titans will now move on to face Temperance Bedford in Tuesday's regional semifinal. Photo by Samantha Elliott
  • Photo by Larry Caruso
  • Photo by Larry Caruso
  • Photo by Larry Caruso
  • Photo by Larry Caruso
  • Photo by Larry Caruso

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The third time was a charm for the Anderson girls’ basketball team.

The past two seasons Anderson has had its season ended at the hands of Woodhaven.

On Friday night, the Titans returned the favor, winning the district championship with a 57-42 win over the host Warriors.

“It was awesome,” Anderson Coach Larry Sakalas said after the win. “We had a great time, it was awesome and we enjoyed it.

“The girls battled their butts off and never stopped; they battled the whole game. It was just great.”

The team’s motto since the beginning of the season is “one team, one goal, one mission.”

The overall mission is to make a deep run into the competitive state playoffs, but after Wednesday’s win over Trenton the big mission became clear; beat Woodhaven.

“That’s what they wanted,” Sakalas said. “They wanted to get this and move on.”

With the exception of a few pushes from the Warriors, Anderson had an easy time to get the title, despite being in foul trouble.

There were four players who finished the game with two or more fouls, including Amani Corley who had four, but it didn’t seem to bother the girls.

Woodhaven took the first lead of the game but it was the only time the Warriors would lead.

Anderson went on a run and led 9-4 just over halfway into the quarter.

Woodhaven’ Allison Manning hit a three with less than a minute to make it a 9-8 game but Anderson’s Laekyn Jaciuk came up with a triple of her own at the buzzer for a 14-8 advantage after eight minutes.

Woodhaven won the second quarter 13-12 and only trailed five at the half.

Cassie Breen hit a huge triple at the buzzer from inside the paint on the opposite of the court for a 26-21 game.

“What’s funny about that is in practice she hits about 50 percent of those,” Woodhaven Coach Rodney Scharboneau said. “It didn’t surprise anybody, but it was exciting.”

The third was another close outing and Woodhaven started to push.

Hailey Leidel made it a three-point game (28-25) early on and again with just under three to go when she hit a triple for a 35-32 score.

Manning had a big steal and drove it all the way down the court and her field goal and and-one made it a 39-35 game.

But the highlight of the quarter was Anderson’s Chrissy Anderson.

The freshman scored all seven of her points in the third quarter and brought down two boards.

“She was dominating in the third quarter,” Sakalas said about his first-year player.

The Titans defense really took over in the final outing, outscoring Woodhaven 15-7.

They led 50-40 halfway through and cruised from there.

Tinara Moore dominated the game, as well as the whole week of districts. The senior star topped the charts Friday night with a double-double of 24 points and 16 rebounds.

Laekyn Jaciuk finished with 13 points and Corley had 10 points.

Leah Malam used her size to bring down nine boards including five in the third quarter and also had two points. Anderson finished with seven points and five boards.

Leidel scored half of the Warriors’ points and finished with 21 points and six rebounds.

Manning had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds, Breen had six points and eight boards and Lyndsay Brennen had five points and three rebounds.

Sakalas said he was pleased with his all-around team effort in the win.

“We had huge minutes out of Andrew Thornsberry when Amani got in trouble; huge minutes out of Chrissy Anderson,” he said. “Tinara, Leah, Laekyn were just as usual as they always get.

“Big minutes from Amber McAllister coming off the bench; big minutes from Sam Mazur coming off the bench.”

The Titans got the win dealing with the Warriors on the court as well as in the stands. There was hardly a seat left in the house and spectators lined the walls in a sea of various colors as players from all other local teams were in attendance. But the Titans handled it all.

“I told them just pretend it’s practice,” Sakalas said. “Do just like you do with practice. The only difference here is there’s a hell of a lot of people, so don’t let them get to you; don’t let them phase you.

“Their student section will be loud and proud (but) we’ll just go out and do our job.’

They did just that and Woodhaven gave them all the credit.

“Southgate’s the best team in the Downriver League,” Scharboneau said. “They proved it three times to us and you’ve got to give them credit.

“I think they beat us fair and square.”

Scharboneau was proud of the effort of his team.

“I was happy that we battled Southgate so hard because that’s such a great team,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.

“Tonight we had Hailey doing all she could and Allison rebounding well. It takes a lot out of us when we’re trying to rebound with those bigger girls. Cassie was in there fighting and rebounding.”

Sakalas said he was most pleased with his team’s defensive efforts in the win.

“They were off (shooting) tonight, but I think we D’d them up pretty good,” he said. “We got in their face and didn’t let them come up and didn’t let them get an open look.

“We didn’t back down and that was a huge part.”

With the loss, Woodhaven will lose three seniors in the form of Manning, Breen and Erin Marvaso.

“As far as my girls are concerned; we lost seven seniors and three starters last year and they won 20 games this year,” Scharboneau said. “I think they responded so well and they overachieved in so many ways. It was a great season because of that.

“(I told my seniors) just that I love them and I’m proud of them and Woodhaven appreciates them so much. They battled; they’re Warriors. They overachieve and we had a lot of fun for four years.”

With the win, Anderson will move on to face Temperance Bedford at 7:30 at Gibraltar Carlson for the regional semifinal.

“We’ll come in on Sunday, we’ll watch film, see our mistakes and try to correct them,” Sakalas said. “On Monday we’ll go back at it in practice and Tuesday is Carlson.”

Last Updated: 3/4/2014 2:16:26 PM EST