Being one of the best shooters in the mid-Michigan area, DeWitt senior Ryan Anderson makes the most of his chances when he gets even a little bit of separation.
He found himself about as wide open as he’s ever been with a chance to give DeWitt a huge 71-69 CAAC Red win at St. Johns on Friday night.
Anderson drained a 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining, propelling the Panthers to a victory.
“I don’t like to be that open. It scared me a little bit, but I shot it and just hoped it went in. I knew I was really open and I had to take it and I needed to make it for the team,” Anderson said.
Anderson finished with 19 points for DeWitt (8-2, 4-1) while senior Andrew Walker had 25 points to lead the Panthers. The pair combined for five of DeWitt’s seven threes, with Anderson’s last one proving to be the difference.
St. Johns senior guard Bryce Wischmeyer, who helped hold Anderson to just two points in the first half, got caught by a screen and fell down, allowing Anderson to get as open as he was for the game-winner.
“That last play, I think everybody in the gym we were going to Ryan. We were trying to get him open and we got a great screen on that and he got a good look and give him credit for knocking him down,” DeWitt coach Ron Marlan said.
“Wischmeyer did a great job on him,” St. Johns coach Denny Baratono said. “It’s really tough to take. It was a great high school basketball game.”
Wischmeyer, who also had 10 points and eight assists, hit his first basket of the second half with just 3:30 to go in the fourth quarter, but it was a 3-pointer to give the Redwings (5-4, 4-1) a 63-60 lead. He would put St. Johns up three once again with two free-throws to make the score 67-64.
DeWitt tried to tie the game and missed a 3-pointer, but the Panthers crashed the offensive glass to grab two rebounds and keep the possession alive before junior Ray Stein was fouled.
Stein hit one free-throw to pull DeWitt to within two, then Wischmeyer once again calmly knocked down two free-throws to increase the Redwing led to four.
DeWitt went on to score the last six points, as Stein knocked down a 3-pointer and a pivotal over and back call on St. Johns’ next possession gave the ball back to DeWitt, which culminated in Anderson’s triple.
“It’s a huge win. They were undefeated in the league. They were 4-0 and last year we played them three times and they’re a great team,” Anderson said of St. Johns. “We just knew we had to come over here and get a win if we wanted to compete for a league title.”
Sophomore Austin Ervin had 23 points and seven rebounds to lead St. Johns while junior Josh Hafner added 17 points for the Redwings. The pair scored 25 of St. Johns’ 36 second half points.
Junior Matt Pearsall finished with 14 points for St. Johns while senior Andrew Rogoszewksi chipped in with 10 points for DeWitt.