ANSLEY — Ansley/Litchfield took out some frustrations on Loomis.
Putting the defensive clamps on the high-scoring Wolves, the Spartans ended a two-game skid with a 55-48 victory Thursday night at Ansley. It was the second loss in less than a week for the Wolves, who started the season 17-0. It was also their lowest halftime and single-game scoring outputs.
“It took us way too long to get any buckets going,” Loomis coach Drew Billeter said. “Layups we didn’t miss all year didn’t go in and we couldn’t make any free throws to get us going, either.”
Loomis’ Quinn Johnson hit a 3-pointer to put the Wolves ahead 3-2, but their next basket only cut into a 9-point Spartan lead. By the end of the quarter, Ansley/Litchfield had a 16-7 lead and went on to extend it to 27-14 at halftime.
A fast start was just what the Spartans needed after a grueling week of basketball that included a win Feb. 4 over Amherst in the Fort Kearny Conference Tournament, an upset victory over top-seeded Pleasanton on Friday, a loss to Axtell in the championship on Saturday, then another loss to Arcadia/Loup City on Tuesday.
“We were super worried about our legs. We hardly had practice yesterday,” Ansley/Litchfield coach Matt Drew said.
He said the Spartans were happy with their run through the tournament, but the loss to the Rebels on Tuesday was the primary motivational factor for Thursday’s push against Loomis.
“Both Loup City and Axtell we got down early and weren’t able to come back so it was nice to jump off to a better start. We we’re more able to play our style,” Drew said.
Loomis finally discovered its style after trailing by 15 early in the first half.
“The pace of the game picked up quite a bit. The kids got to see the ball go through the hoop and we got a little momentum, a little energy from them,” Billeter said. The Wolves, ranked No. 3 in Class D2, cut the lead to four points midway through the third quarter, but Ansley/Litchfield had an answer.
“Once we got close, they went back inside and whether it’s they threw it in to a post or they drove to the basket, they found a way to get it back inside,” Billeter said.
The Spartans, ranked No. 8 in Class D1, responded with Parker LeFever putting in a point-blank layup and Caden Holm splitting two defenders to get to the basket for a layup that rebuilt the lead to eight points.
Loomis couldn’t get any closer than six the rest of the way.
LeFever led the Spartans with 16 points, while Holm and Tycen Bailey finished with 10 points each.
Nolan Benjamin led the Wolves with 15 points and Joshua Marcy chipped in 12.
Tonight, Ansley/Litchfield travels to play Anselmo-Merna, while Loomis hosts Pleasanton in a rematch of the FKC Tournament’s third-place game.
Ansley/Litchfield 55, Loomis 48
Score by Quarters
Loomis (18-2)7 7 17 17 — 48
Ans/Litch (15-6)16 11 13 15 — 55
LOOMIS — Nolan Benjamin 15, Joshua Marcy 10, Carson Orcutt 8, Quinn Johnson 8, Shay Swanson 7.
ANSLEY/LITCHFIELD — Parker LeFever 16, Tycen Bailey 10, Caden Holm 10, Jeffery Cunningham 8, Tyler Schukei 7, Jackson Henry 2.