Article by Bill Cross | For The Herald Bulletin
The Anderson boys basketball team wrapped up a rebuilding season Friday night with a 68-47 loss to Hamilton Southeastern in a Class 4A Sectional 8 semifinal at Carmel High School.
Coach Jeff Howard’s Tribe competed with the Royals in the first and fourth quarters, but it was a 35-18 advantage for the victors in the middle quarters that made the difference.
“When you are in a rebuilding mode, which means you aren’t there yet, you’re going to see games like you saw tonight because this is the way we have played all season,” said Howard. “For every good thing we might do, we might do two bad things. For every bad thing, we do we might do two good things.”
The good things were on display early for the Indians, as Zakarius Milhouse went in for a layup off the opening tip.
The Indians stayed with the Royals in the first quarter, erasing an early 7-2 deficit when Ethen Russell tied the game at nine on a 3-pointer from the right baseline. Anderson took the lead just 15 seconds into the second quarter on a 3 by Raphael Williams.
It was be final advantage for the Indians.
Hamilton Southeastern, which played the entire night without top scorer Zach Gunn, went to the basket aggressively and drew fouls. HSE coach Brian Satterfield said the 6-foot-7 Gunn was “available if needed.”
The Royals shot 13 free throws in the first half, converting 12 of them. Anderson, meanwhile, was just 1-of-4 from the line, and the Royals held an 18-3 points off of turnovers advantage at the half.
Hamilton Southeastern outscored Anderson 23-6 after the Williams bucket that started the second quarter and led 37-22 at halftime.
“That is exactly what our coaches pointed out,” Howard said of the free-throw disparity. “The second quarter in particular, free throws came from us being out of position defensively. We reached on defense. We knew they were going to be aggressive. I didn’t think we wanted it consistently. When you are in a transition, which this basketball program is, you are just simply going to have nights like this.”
The Indians were outscored 12-9 in the third quarter and 19-16 in the fourth and were unable to put together any kind of sustained run to get back in the game. Anderson was 18-of-46 (39 percent) from the field and 5-of-14 (35 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Royals were led in scoring by Jack Davidson’s 17 points. Chaz Birchfield had 13, and Aaron Etherington finished with 10.
The Royals finished the game 21-of-53 from the field, 22-of-26 from the free-throw line and held a 33-10 advantage in points off of turnovers. Hamilton Southeastern will play for the sectional title tonight.
Brandon Haralson led Anderson by 11 points. Williams finished with eight, and Milhouse had seven. Haralson pulled down seven rebounds for the Tribe, who were outrebounded 25-24 by the Royals.
Anderson loses seniors Williams, Milhouse and Khalil Chamberlain, who combined to average 20 points per game.
“Zakarius Milhouse was a do-everything guy,” Howard said. “He came to practice every single day, and he practiced as hard he played. Raphael was a solid guy. He knocked down some shots (tonight), and I thought maybe he would have 20 like he did against Carmel (earlier this season).
“I only met Khalil right before the season because he played football. He has a bright future ahead of him. Those three seniors were put in a difficult situation (four coaches in three years), and I tried my best to keep the boat floating.”
Anderson is set to return a strong junior class with the potential of seven seniors on the roster next season.
The Indians finish the year 4-20 against the 20th-strongest schedule in the state.
“Honestly our season should have been .500 because there were times we would do some great things and times we would do things like ‘what were you thinking?,’” said Howard. “We never got in the mindset of being consistently good.”