FARMERSVILLE — Anna’s furious rally at the end of their Farmersville Invitational game with McKinney Christian Academy on Friday, Dec. 1, came up short as the Mustangs prevailed, 62-60. Noah Palshaw’s desperation deep 3-point try at the buzzer wouldn’t go, ending the Coyotes’ hopes.


Palshaw collected a game-high 19 points in the contest while Cotton and Josh O’Bier posted 15 and 12 points, respectively, for Anna. MCA (1-7) was led by James Eastham’s 15 points and Cameron Badeaux’ 14.


Anna (2-4) trailed by 10 to 12 points for much of the game but cut the lead to six with five minutes left to play on Emmonte Davis’ steal and pass to Micah Cotton for a layup. The Coyotes’ press then led to another steal, this one by Palshaw with 2:30 remaining. He got the ball to Cotton on the right side of the 3-point arc and Cotton’s trey cut the margin to 55-53.


Davis’ steal and coast-to-coast drive for a layup in the final minute would tie the game at 57-all. With 35 seconds left, Badeaux’ turnaround jumper in the lane punched the Mustangs’ lead back to four, 61-57. A Cotton pull-up jumper from the left side drew Anna to within 61-59 and the Coyotes called timeout with 14 ticks left.


Another Davis steal and pass to Cotton resulted in Cotton going to the line, where his shot made it 61-60 with seven seconds remaining. MCA’s long inbounds pass drew a foul and a free throw for a 2-point edge. That set up Palshaw’s prayer as the clock hit zeroes.


“We’ve got to do a better job of preparing to play,” Coyote head coach Kyle Phifer said. “You’ve got to give it to McKinney Christian. They hit a lot of shots early. But a lot of that is because we’re not doing the things we need to do. And we’ve got to start fixing mistakes. You can’t take a step forward and four steps back.”


“We definitely brought a lot of heart today,” MCA head coach Cary Bartoo said. “We’ve been struggling with intensity and effort and today, I think, we didn’t have any lack of that. We’re still making mistakes and need to improve there but the game of basketball is all about heart and effort.”


The Mustangs ended a tight first quarter with Badeaux’ 3 to go up, 19-16. In the second frame, MCA eased out to a 25-16 advantage before Davis’ layup “and 1” had the Coyotes back within striking distance. A Cotton 3 cut the Mustangs’ lead to 25-22 before MCA pushed back to a 10-point edge halfway through the period. The margin had bulged to 37-24 when O’Bier struck back with a jumper in the lane and Gavin Reno nabbed a steal for a layup.


Still, the Mustangs led, 39-28, when Palshaw put up the Coyotes’ last points of the half — a trey from the right side.


O’Bier opened the second half with a 3 but MCA kept the pressure on and led, 49-38, near the midpoint of the third quarter. Cotton’s 2-point bucket from the right corner had Anna within 54-45 as the period ended.


On Day 1 of the Farmersville tourney, Thursday, Nov. 30, Anna split two games, falling to district-mate Bonham, 67-34, and topping Class 4A Mabank, 47-42. In the Mabank win, Palshaw poured in a team-high 20 points and O’Bier followed with 11. The Coyotes trailed, 11-7, after one quarter but edged out to a 35-32 advantage after three.


Versus Bonham, Cotton’s 11 points led the way for Anna, followed by eight points each from Palshaw and O’Bier. After a tight first quarter, the Warriors pulled away in the second and dominated the rest of the way.