DEFIANCE — No question that Todd Mitchell’s Fayette basketball teams play hard. Very hard.
That is why the Eagles were upset winners over Montpelier and Ayersville to win a Division IV sectional to get into the district tournament at Defiance.
Problem for the Eagles was that Antwerp plays hard too…and the Archers had the best player on the court in either game Tuesday night in 6’7” junior Jagger Landers, as he did everything except take tickets and sell hot dogs in a 58-28 Antwerp win.
After Austin Lichty meshed a corner triple to start the game, Landers asserted himself with a foul line jumper then a dunk off a backcourt turnover to boost the Archers up 7-0.
Tanner Wagner kept Fayette in the game for the time being, nailing two long-distance triples to get the Eagles back within a point with 3:29 to go.
After a Landers 3-pointer, Elijah Lerma scored against the press to keep the Eagles within a bucket but that was the last Fayette score for over seven minutes.
During that span, Antwerp went on an 18-0 run to extend their two-point lead to 20 with 3:52 left in the half.
Landers scored two more hoops in the first, Lichty knocked home a pair of triples in the second and Owen Sheedy canned two more baskets — both in transition.
Landers scored three straight hoops — including a second dunk — to surge the Archers up 36-14 at the break.
Phillip Whiteside hit from outside the arc to start the second half for the Eagles but Antwerp answered with a 10-2 burst.
Sheedy and Landon Brewer knocked home shots from three-point range to key the run that pushed Antwerp up 46-19 after the third.
Whiteside again opened a quarter with a three-ball but the Archers scored the next nine, the run spurred by putbacks from Landers and Brewer to give the Archers a 55-22 lead.
The Archers got their biggest advantage at 58-24 when Parker Moore tripled late in the game before Wagner and Chase Moats answered in the last minute for the Eagles.
Landers had 23 points to lead Antwerp. Lichty had 11, as did Brewer off the bench.
Wagner led Fayette with 10 points.
Antwerp shot 25-47 from the floor, including 64 percent in the first half when the Archers were 16-25.
Fayette was 11-36 for the night.
The much bigger Archers held a 27-15 advantage on the boards and Antwerp had just four turnovers compared to nine by Fayette.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org.