A tall, physical Wesclin Warrior basketball team knocked off Anna-Jonesboro 67-50 in the Class 2A Wesclin Sectional semifinals.
Hunter Ottensmeier, a 6-foot-5 senior, was a thorn in Anna-Jonesboro’s side all night. Ottensmeier had his way in the low post, hit a 3-pointer and scored several runout buckets on the way to 26 points. Nate Brede, a 6-6 junior, added 20 points.
It was a wire-to-wire win for the Warriors. Wesclin led 16-10 after eight minutes, then scored the first five points of the second quarter. Anna-Jonesboro never trailed by less than 10 points the rest of the way.
“We started fast,” said Wesclin coach Brent Brede. “(Jake) Parr was a load for us to handle early on. I thought we did a pretty good job early defensively, but he’s just not a guy that we have anybody that has a remedy for us to stop. As far as how we played and how we were focused, that was good for us.”
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“We talked about kind of weathering the storm,” said Anna-Jonesboro coach Mike Chamness. “They have the ability to make a lot of shots quickly. Obviously, they got the lead in the first quarter and just kept it. I thought we did a good job in the second half of coming back and trying to fight back and trying to make it more of a faster pace. I was worried in the first half of it being a slower pace and allowing them to run their sets and exploit some of the mismatches they had.”
Parr, a 6-2 senior, did his best to keep the Wildcats in the game early. He had all 10 of Anna-Jonesboro’s first quarter points.
The Wildcats simply had no answer for Wesclin’s size and physical style of play. The Warriors were able to get the ball inside offensively, and gave up virtually no offensive rebounds.
“We thought with our size compared to their size that (rebounding) would be an advantage,” Brede said. “It’s not always easy to get your guys to go get those rebounds, but they did tonight. “They had some tough matchups because of their size. Hunter Ottensmeier was able to get some easy looks in the post. That’s good for us.”
“I knew it (size) would (be a problem),” Chamness said. “Being just outmanned, especially on the perimeter. I thought Ottensmeier was really good, especially around the basket. We didn’t have an answer for him.”
After trailing by as many as 17 points early in the third quarter, the Wildcats chipped the deficit to 10 points and had the basketball. Anna-Jonesboro switched to a 2-3 zone to get a couple stops and Logan Sawyer’s follow-up shot cut the deficit to 45-35.
However, Wesclin outscored Anna-Jonesboro 10-5 in the remainder of the quarter to take a 55-40 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“They changed defenses,” Brede said. “That really wasn’t a big deal necessarily, but we gave up some easier baskets than we are used to giving up in the third quarter. We never really felt threatened, but, I guess aggravated would be the right word.”
“Hats off to them, they played really well,” Chamness said. “They made shots when they had to. That’s what it takes to win in the postseason.”
Parr finished with 26 points for Anna-Jonesboro and Sheldon McGrath had 13.
Anna-Jonesboro bows out of the postseason at 23-8, while Wesclin (26-4) plays Friday against the winner of tonight’s Nashville-Pinckneyville game.