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Titans shake off nerves, use strong second half to advance to regional finals PHOTO GALLERY

  • After shaking off a rough start, Leah Malam (11) and her Anderson Titans turned things around and cruised to a 52-36 victory over Bedford. The win advanced the Titans to the regional final against Romulus. Photos by Dave Chapman
It took awhile for the Anderson girls’ basketball team to get into a flow in Tuesday’s regional semifinal-almost the entire first half- but once they did, there was no stopping those Titans.

The team shook off the nerves and a rocky start and a big third quarter propelled them to the 52-36 win.

“Bedford’s a very good basketball team,” Anderson Coach Larry Sakalas said. “We knew they were good and we needed to relax a little bit and start playing our game.”

They did just that.

After fighting to a 26-24 halftime advantage, the Titans came out full force in the third and the defense really shut the door, only allowing four points from Bedford.

“I think the third quarter was huge,” Sakalas said. “I thought defensively we started to play a little bit.

“We got our legs back. We were nervous (before) and we started to pay a little bit and I think that was huge.”

Tinara Moore gave Anderson a 28-24 lead to start the half and the score never got closer down the stretch.

The Titans led 36-28 as the clock rolled into the fourth quarter and then they really kicked into “Titan basketball” mode.

A big steal and field goal from Laekyn Jaciuk gave Anderon a 41-30 lead with just over a minute gone by.

They continued to pile on the points with steals from Jaciuk and big blocks from Amani Corley and Moore.

A few timeouts didn’t slow down the now hot Titans and they edged Bedford 16-8 in the final eight minutes to seal the win.

Early on, Bedford took the first lead of the game and almost halfway through the opening quarter it was tied 4-4 after Jaciuk’s triple.

She kept the Titans in the game with another triple a minute later for a 9-7 score in favor of Bedford.

The Kicking Mules pushed ahead for an 11-8 lead after a quarter.

Bedford built its lead to 22-13 with less than three to play in the second quarter.

That’s when things started to shirt Anderson’s way.

In the final three minutes the Titans outscored Bedford 11-6 for the halftime advantage.

Corley, Moore and Jaciuk all went to the line in a two minute span and combined for six free throw points.

With 30 seconds to go, Moore popped up with a big steal and the ensuing field goal gave Anderson its first lead of the game (23-22).

Bedford tied it up with five seconds to go, but Jaciuk sank two free throws with 3.3 seconds left for the halftime lead.

In many games this season, Sakalas has yelled from the sidelines for his team to slow down and be patient, but that wasn’t the case with Bedford.

“Today we wanted to speed up and we weren’t speeding up,” he said. “We were playing slow and that’s their kind of pace game; we wanted to play our kind of pace game.

“I thought we had some nerves early, (but) once we got over that a little bit after halftime, I thought we played very well.”

The Titans only saw scoring from three players, but others contributed rebounds, steals and blocks throughout the game.

“I thought all of our starters played very well,” Sakalas said. “At times it was somebody; at other times it was somebody else.

“I thought everybody did their role tonight, which was huge.”

Moore led the way with 25 points and seven rebounds.

Jaciuk finished the night with 14 points and three boards and Corley had 13 points and five rebounds.

With the win the Titans advanced to the regional final for the first time since the team’s seniors were freshmen.

They will tip off against Romulus on Thursday at 7:00 at Carlson.



Last Updated: 3/6/2014 3:00:34 AM EST

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