Jan. 20—ANDERSON — Were it not for calendar confusion on the part of Anderson Prep's originally scheduled Saturday opponent, Indianapolis Washington, the Jets would have been heavily favored to garner another victory.
When the Continentals were unable to visit the Hangar on Saturday morning, APA found a willing — and far tougher — opponent in Class 2A Winchester for the weekend matinee as a last-second replacement. While the scheduling change may have cost the Jets a chance at a sure victory, the results of their tussle with the Golden Falcons may prove far more valuable in the weeks ahead.
Junior Alivia McCoy led all players with 15 points, freshman Auden Hummel grabbed 17 rebounds to lead a Winchester victory on the glass and the Golden Falcons held off the Jets 47-39.
Winchester, a program that has won five sectionals and advanced to the state finals twice since former Pendleton Heights coach Holly Gutierrez took over in 2015, improved to 9-12 with its third straight win while APA dipped below the .500 mark at 10-11 with a third straight loss.
There were no hanging heads after a loss that saw the Jets rally from multiple double-digit deficits against a triangle-and-two defense the Jets only practiced against earlier in the day.
"I thought we ran it pretty good for just teaching it today," APA coach Josh Fathauer said. "With three big girls inside — and Winchester is really good program. I'm proud of them. I thought they played hard."
The Falcons seemed to take control with a 12-2 run in the first half after APA junior Alivia Peoples gave the Jets an 8-7 lead with a wing jumper. But Avery Mote started the Winchester burst with a 3-point basket, and Hummel capped the run with a pair of free throws for a 19-10 lead.
A Tameah Eldridge 3-point basket pulled the Jets within 21-15, but the Falcons cruised into halftime with a 27-17 lead.
The first five points out of the locker room went to the Jets as Julia Smith knocked down a 3-point basket and Peoples scored in the lane, pulling APA within 27-22.
A further APA comeback was stunted by foul trouble as its top four scorers — Peoples, Smith, Kaylynn Orr and Arianna Flowers — all missed time with foul trouble. As a result, the Falcons pushed the lead back to double digits and built a 43-30 advantage on a Madyson Hummel transition layup.
Undaunted, the Jets had one more run in them.
Orr hit a pair of free throws before she and Peoples each scored on rebound baskets and Peoples hit two charity tosses of her own, and — with just over a minute remaining — the Jets were suddenly back within five points at 43-38.
"We just came out and tried to win," Peoples said.
But that's where the comeback ran out of gas. McCoy scored and Auden Hummel sank two free throws to ice the game in the closing seconds.
It was a loss, to be sure, but possibly a valuable one for the Jets.
"As a team, we need more of this, a more physical game," Peoples said. "They're a good team. I wish we had come out as strong in the first half as we did in the second half."
Brooklyn Friend added 11 points for Winchester, which enjoyed a 43-35 rebounding edge.
Peoples and Orr each scored 10 points with Peoples also grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking two shots. Smith and Flowers scored eight points each, with Flowers leading all players with five steals.
The Jets will conclude the regular season at home with games Tuesday against Providence Cristo Rey and Thursday against Randolph Southern before also hosting 1A Sectional 55 the following week.
The draw will be held Sunday, and APA is excited about its prospects in a four-team bracket that seems to be wide open.
"This will be our chance to prove ourselves, that we've advanced to more than we were the last couple of years," Peoples said. "We have a statement to make, and we want to prove ourselves."
The sectional at the Hangar will be held Feb. 2-3 with the semifinals to be held Friday and the championship game Saturday. The Jets will be joined in the group by Cowan, Daleville and Tri-Central.
Contact Rob Hunt at email@example.com or 765-640-4886.