Giltner won the battle of the second half as the Hornets defeated Ansley-Litchfield 63-49 Friday in the boys championship game of the Heartland Lutheran Holiday tournament.

After a furiously contested first half, Giltner got some separation via a dominant third quarter effort on both ends of the floor. The Hornets erupted for 20 points, aided by four 3-pointers, while limiting the Spartan offense to a mere six points after they posted 31 in the first half.

The cause was due in part to the cumulative effects of the Giltner full court press, which coach Jordan Ortmeier put into play immediately. Ansley-Litchfield ended up turning the ball over 25 times, a factor that the Spartans simply couldn’t overcome.

“Our defense stepped up big time in the second half,” Ortmeier said. “I was pretty happy with how we responded after halftime. They’re a great team, and we needed to be more disciplined and force them to the left side of the floor, because that’s where we can make things happen for ourselves.”

Ansley-Litchfield coach Troy Schirmer agreed that the Hornet defense made things very tough for his team, but noted that the offense more than did its part for Giltner as well.

“They stepped up and hit some big outside shots, at least four threes, in the third quarter,” he said. “They’re a team that’s going to wear you down defensively, and they caught us in that quarter. We’re not as deep as them. I’ve got some young kids that fought their tails off, but we had little mental lapses over a four- or five-minute stretch that really hurt us.”

The first two quarters were a series of punches and counters, as both teams were able to find points to exploit. Ironically, the Giltner press didn’t seem to be particularly effective during the first two quarters, as the Spartans were able to run the floor and score more successfully in transition than in their half court game.

Rody Lyon converted a midcourt steal for a bucket to give Giltner an 11-9 lead, followed by a three from Alex Goracke. But a 3 at the first-quarter buzzer by Jaden Jones kept Ansley-Litchfield within three, and a quick trey from Jeffery Cunningham tied the score seconds into the second period.

The Spartans briefly built a five-point edge after a three by Matt Reed and a fast break basket by Reid Brockmeier, but Dayne Hinrichs converted a three point play, and the Hornets got just enough from the free throw line to take a one-point edge into the break.

However, the Spartans blinked as the third quarter unfolded, and that proved to be the difference in the game. Giltner ran off a quick six points, then ended the third with a nine-point burst that put the lead solidly into double digits.

Josh Hinrichs hit his second 3 of the quarter, then Rody Lyon penetrated and delivered a tough backdoor pass to Goracke. Moments later Goracke returned the assist, setting up Lyon for a three to give the Hornets a 52-47 lead going into the final eight minutes.

Ansley-Litchfield regained its balance in the fourth, and was briefly able to cut the lead to nine after a three by Reed and two free throws from Ethan Samuelson. The Hornets responded with another six point run in just over a minute before cruising in for the win.

Ortmeier said that the victory is truly a team win, as one of the biggest weapons in Giltner’s arsenal is its depth.

“We’re normally 11 deep,” he said. “So when our second unit comes in they pick up exactly where the first five guys stopped. I have all the faith in the world in our bench. It’s nice to have guys that can come in and take over like that.”

Ansley-Litchfield (5-4).....13 18 6 12—49

Giltner (7-1)......16 16 20 11—63

AL: Brockmeier 1-3 0-2 2, Jones 3-8 1-3 9, Reed 2-4 0-0 6, Bailey 7-12 2-3 16, Cunningham 2-9 3-5 8, Henry 1-3 0-0 2, Samuelson 0-3 2-3 2, LeFever 2-6 0-0 4. Totals 18-48 8-16 49.

G: Reeson 0-1 1-2 1, Rody Lyon 2-5 3-6 8, J. Hinrichs 5-10 2-3 14, C. Craig 0-1 0-0 0, Vaught 1-4 0-0 3, D. Hinrichs 4-7 3-5 12, Linden 0-1 0-0 0, Goracke 5-14 5-8 17, B. Craig 2-2 0-0 4, Rees Lyon 1-2 1-2 4. Totals 20-47 15-26 63.

3-pointers — AL 5-20 (Brockmeier 0-1, Jones 2-7, Reed 2-4, Bailey 0-1, Cunningham 1-6, LeFever 0-1), G 8-17 (Rody Lyon 1-3, J. Hinrichs 2-4, Vaught 1-4, D. Hinrichs 1-1, Goracke 2-3, Rees Lyon 1-2). Rebounds – AL 38 (Bailey 7), G 30 (Goracke 10). Assists — AL 9 (Brockmeier 2, Jones 2, Reed 2), G 15 (Rody Lyon 4). Turnovers—AL 25, G 14. Personal Fouls—AL 19, G 18. Fouled Out – None. Technical Fouls – None.

Ansley-Litchfield girls 39, Central Valley 20

Ansley-Litchfield maintained its undefeated record as the Spartans overcame some ball control issues to take a 39-20 victory over Central Valley in the girls championship game.

The Spartans (9-0) gave up the ball 21 times, compared to 20 for the Cougars, but had much greater success shooting the ball. Central Valley (7-2) suffered through a dismal 8-of-42 performance from the floor, scoring only once in the first quarter and trailing 19-8 at halftime.

The Spartans saw Mariah Lane warm up from outside in the second half, hitting four threes as the Ansley-Litchfield stayed chopping block steady throughout the final two quarters.

“Every night somebody steps up for us,” Spartan coach Joe Bailey said. “Tonight Mariah was the one, and her hitting those threes like that was huge for us.

“Coming back after the moratorium you never know how the girls will respond. Playing a tough team like Central Valley gives us a good idea of where we’re at as a team.”

Ansley-Litchfield started the game with a 9-0 run before Allyson Dugan got the ball inside to score for Central Valley. But the Cougars simply proved unable to keep pace with the Spartans, and the lead gradually expanded throughout the second half.

Central Valley coach Randall Barr was unavailable for post-game comments.

Ansley-Litchfield (9-0)....9 10 10 10—39

Central Valley (7-2).....2 6 7 5—20

AL: McAbee 0-7 0-0 0, Bailey 5-10 0-0 10, Berke 0-1 0-0 0, Stunkel 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 2-4 0-4 4, Ryan 3-5 2-3 8, Lane 6-14 1-2 17. Totals 16-42 3-9 39.

CV: Erickson 1-9 3-6 5, Beck 2-9 0-0 4, Robinson 0-3 0-0 0, Grossart 1-2 0-0 2, Barr 1-7 0-0 3, Rother 2-5 0-4 4, Dugan 1-6 0-0 2, Young 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 8-42 3-10 20.

3-point shots – AL 4-12 (McAbee 0-4, Lane 4-8), CV 1-8 (Erickson 0-1, Beck 0-1, Robinson 0-1, Grossart 0-1, Barr 1-4). Rebounds – AL 37 (Lewis 11, Ryan 9), CV 29 (Barr 5, Rother 5). Assists – AL11 (McAbee 4, Lewis 3), CV 6 (Grossart 2). Turnovers – AL 21, CV 20. Personal Fouls – AL 11, CV 10. Fouled Out – None. Technical Fouls – None.

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