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Anstadt continues her ascension and helps Hughesville defeat Neumann

HUGHESVILLE–Alli Anstadt beat her defender off the dribble before running into two defenders near the basket. Unfazed, the Hughesville forward pump-faked twice and easily scored a third-quarter basket.

Anstadt scored a lot of ways Thursday night against St. John Neumann, but the times she used fakes to produce baskets especially stood out. And that’s because the freshman did not have those moves three weeks ago.

Just 12 games into her debut season, Anstadt is growing each contest. The heights that growth can take her seem limitless and Anstadt already is becoming a matchup dilemma. She certainly was against Neumann, scoring a career-high 20 points while helping Hughesville pull away for a 61-36 win. Breanna Bobak added a season-high 16 points, freshman Ava Snyder 11 and Hughesville (6-6) used a 28-2 run from late in the second through the end of the third quarter to put away the determined Knights in its first game in eight nights.

“She is a phenomenal player,” Neumann coach Helena Floyd said. “We just didn’t have an answer for her.”

Not many teams have. As Anstadt gains more experience this season and the next three years, more and more teams could be scrambling for solutions. Strong, quick and versatile, Anstadt was part of a dominant junior high team which never lost the previous two seasons. Now she is gaining confidence while playing against excellent competition on a nightly basis and her 16 points in the middle quarters helped Hughesville gain separation against Neumann (5-8).

The past two seasons, Anstadt often could score at will by overwhelming defenses near the basket. While she remains tough there, she also has expanded her game out of necessity. Anstadt also has a nice mid-range game and hit a 15-footer against Neumann. The fakes are being incorporated and making Anstadt ever harder to defend. It’s becoming a case of pick your poison against a player averaging a double-double and Anstadt put it all together against Neumann.

“It was tough at the beginning (of the game). I had to learn the jump fake,” Anstadt said. “I had to get that in my mind. Once I got that everything became better.”

“She is very mentally tough. She had a rough start tonight and missed some bunnies but she didn’t let it get to her and she ended up making some tough ones,” Hughesville coach Ryan Callahan said. “Offensively she’s a really tough matchup. She’s got a quick first step and can go either way. She’s starting to incorporate some shot fakes and some pivots. She’s just 13 months from playing against eighth graders, so that’s a big step up.”

Anstadt produced five straight double-doubles earlier this season and has helped one of the district’s youngest teams look dangerous in the rugged HAC-II which includes three defending district champions, a defending state champion and four teams who have eight combined losses. Hughesville’s entire outlook looks promising the next few years and Anstadt is a major reason why.

This is a player with the work ethic to match her talent and she already has come light years halfway through the season. From not knowing what her role would be in the preseason to holding her own against some of the district’s premier players, Anstadt is proving the present looks as good as the future.

“Coming into the season I was told I was going to play JV. Ava and I weren’t very sure if we could play varsity or have the confidence to do it,” Anstadt said. “Once we got our first game in we realized we are varsity level and we can play at this level. Now Ava and I know we can flourish.”

Anstadt certainly did that in the middle quarters. Neumann led throughout the first quarter and trailed just 23-22 with 80 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Anstadt, though, scored 10 second-quarter points, six more in the third and produced four straight late in the third to make it 45-24. In that quarter alone, she made a jumper, scored off a good post move and jump-faked her way to another basket, unleashing her arsenal.

“She has skill, she has ability and she’s just scratching the surface. She can handle the ball and has the quick feet of a guard,” Callahan said. “If we can get her playing some wing and taking advantage of matchups I think she’s going to be a problem for a long time for a lot of people around here.”

Hughesville had lots of players provide Neumann problems. Bobak is excelling at both guard positions and attacked the basket at will throughout the second half, scoring 10 of her 16 points. The sophomore also produced six steals and six rebounds. Grace Pysher continued being a defensive menace, making five steals and Hailey Poust started wearing on Neumann’s guards with her frenetic defense while adding a game-high five assists.

Hughesville received a big lift from its bench, including Lucy Myers. The sophomore forward played one of her best games, scoring eight points, grabbing seven rebounds and making a steal. Myers has started at times this season and was a difference-maker in a one-point win last month against Montoursville. She provides Hughesville with another weapon and also allows the coaching staff to exploit different matchups.

“Lucy played a lot against Jersey Shore and Loyalsock and she got some confidence playing against top-notch players. She saw she can hold her own and she learned a bit,” Callahan said. “Lucy has really come along. She’s finishing around the hoop better and she gives us flexibility.”

Despite the loss, Neumann again showed why it has a shot at becoming just the second team in program history to reach the Class A state tournament. Despite several players competing for the first time in two weeks, the Knights started strong and were right with a good Class AAA team until later in the third quarter. The result was not what Neumann wanted, but this is a game which could help it get where it wants to go come late February.

Sheiana Tutler continued her strong season, scoring 14 points, grabbing nine rebounds, blocking five shots and adding three assists. Lizzie Weller had seven points and eight rebounds in her first game in two weeks, while Lily Reid scored eight points. Shanniyah Tutler gave Neumann an early lift and had three first-half assists as well as five rebounds and Gigi Parlante produced six rebounds. The Knights also closed strong and ended the game on a 12-10 run.

Neumann had visions of an upset during the first half and led by as many as four in the first quarter. Hughesville went ahead to stay early in the second but a quick flurry pulled the Knights within 23-22. Everything started clicking for Hughesville from that point on and it played one of its best quarters of the year in the third when it outscored Neumann, 22-2. The Spartans made 10 of 19 shots during that quarter and five different players produced points.

“We’re all working together better. We just need to communicate more. That’s not there 100 percent but we’re very close to being with some of the top teams,” Anstadt said. “The third quarter hasn’t been our quarter, but this game we came out ready to go in the third quarter and it showed.”

NEUMANN (36)

Sheiana Tutler 5 3-4 14, Gigi Parlante 1 1-6 3, Lizzie Weller 2 3-5 7, Lily Reid 4 0-0 8, Shanniyah Tutler 1 0-4 2, Michelle Pierce 0 0-0 0, Romee Woodring 0 0-0 0, Ella Ballard 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 7-9 36.

HUGHESVILLE (61)

Alli Anstadt 8 4-6 20, Breanna Bobak 6 4-4 16, Ava Snyder 5 1-3 11, Grace Pysher 1 0-0 3, Hailey Poust 0 0-0 0, Lucy Myers 4 0-2 8, Sara Stroup 1 1-2 3, Lexi Kurzawa 0 0-0 0, Aubrey Hamm 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 10-17 61.

Neumann 12 10 2 12-36

Hughesville 12 17 22 10-61

3-pointers: Neumann 1 (She. Tutler); Hughesville 1 (Pysher).

Records: Hughesville 6-6. Neumann 5-8.

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