Anaya’s hot hand boosts Tigers to victory

Arianna Anaya scored 19 points in Friday's game. (Item File Photo)

LYNN — Arianna Anaya had the hot hand as she scored 18 points to lead the Tech girls basketball team over Chelsea, 42-35, at home on Thursday evening.

Anaya hit four triples, three of which came during the second quarter when Tech put up 17 points.

Shula Jackson also had a big game for the Tigers with 13 points, while Alondra Sanchez chipped in with six points.

Neither team could get much working offensively in the first, but Tech’s offense came alive in the second quarter. Jackson gave Tech an 8-6 lead with a steal and a layup in the opening minute, though Chelsea hit a three on the next possession to retake the lead. Then Anaya took charge, hitting a three to make it 11-9.

Later in the quarter, Chelsea cut the deficit to two again after the Tigers led by as many as six. But Anaya again gave Tech some breathing room with a timely trey. Sanchez snagged a steal and converted at the other end to make it 20-13, and Anaya swished a three to give Tech its largest lead of the half at 23-13. Chelsea went on a 4-0 run to end the quarter down 23-17.

“We’re not really an offensive team or a shooting team, so knowing that we have one person we can go to who will shoot that ball is a really good feeling,” Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said of Anaya.

The Tigers outscored the Red Devils 12-3 in the third to establish a 15-point lead at 35-20 heading into the fourth. The third started with Jackson cleaning up an Anaya rebound, and ended with Jackson swishing a three just before the buzzer sounded.

“This was the best game I’ve seen her play in her time on varsity,” Wechsler said of Jackson. “There was a confidence in her that I hadn’t seen before, and I think that’s what it was. She was going after rebounds, her hustle was unbelievable and she had a spark in her today.”

Tech held all the momentum going into the fourth, but Chelsea refused to go quietly. Sloppy passes on offense led to turnovers and the Red Devils converted those into points. A 13-4 run in favor of Chelsea cut Tech’s lead to six at 39-33, and Wechsler called a time out to regroup and disrupt the Red Devils’ rhythm.

“We always like to make things interesting,” Wechsler said. “(Wednesday, a 41-32 loss to PMA), we were down by a lot and fought to get back in. Today, we let them close it in, but fought together to make sure we closed it out and wouldn’t let them get that win. It was a team effort, as a team we let them get back into it so as a team, we need to finish it, and we did.”

Michayla Lawrence scored her only points of the game in the fourth, but both baskets were crucial. Lawrence poured in a contested layup to make it an eight-point lead, which was the dagger for the Red Devils. A few missed free throws for Chelsea down the stretch sealed the win for the Tigers.

Tech (2-2) will look to keep the momentum going Wednesday at Amesbury.

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