By Mike Myers
WASHINGTON — Often, a basketball program is referred to as a “family.” And in the case of the Washington Lady Hatchets’ record book and the Hunsinger Family, it really is a family affair.
Ally Hunsinger scored 25 points, in the process joining her sister Katie in the Lady Hatchet 1,000 point club, as Washington rang in 2014 with a 51-26 win over North Daviess at the Hatchet House on Thursday.
Hunsinger came into the contest needing 24 points to become the fifth Lady Hatchet to tally 1,000 points in her career, and with eight minutes to play the senior forward still needed 11 points to reach the coveted mark. But a big fourth quarter netted Hunsinger 12 points, with the 1,000th point coming when Hunsinger sank the first of two free throws with 3.4 seconds left in the contest. Hunsinger got a big hug from her sister after the game, and she said measuring up to Katie, who stands third on the all time Lady Hatchet scoring list with 1,115 points from 2002-05, has long been a goal.
“It’s always been a kind of competition in my family. I’ve always wanted to live up to my sister’s expectations as well, I wanted to get to where she was because I’ve always looked up to her,” said Hunsinger. “This shows that I did that. And also it’s a real honor to be up there with Coach Miles.”
Miles scored 1,588 points from 1994-1997, a figure which stands second only to Julie Helm’s 2,236 points from 1992-95 (Rochelle Padgett is fourth on the list with 1,037 points from 1990-93). Now Miles the 1,000-point scorer has coached a 1,000-point scorer in Hunsinger.
“I think this is just a huge accomplishment for Ally, it’s well deserved. These are the types of kids as coaches, they work hard, and not just in season. Ally has a passion for basketball and a passion for being competitive,” said Miles. “The game that she has taken herself to is not just between October and February. She’s put many years, many hours in the gym on her own, outside of practice. It’s also a credit to her family too. Any time you have a huge record like that it also comes back to all the time your parents puts in to get you places and to work with you.”
Hunsinger had just six points at the half of a game that was a defensive struggle for the first 16 minutes as Class 3A No. 12 Washington (10-1) held a 16-5 halftime lead over Class A No. 6 North Daviess (8-2). At the half, the Lady Cougars were 1-14 from the field and had committed 13 turnovers, stats that ND coach Ron Knepp attributed to some tough Washington defense.
“You’ve got to hand it to Washington. The reason we didn’t score in the first half is their defense is that strong. Defensively, they are a quality basketball team,” said Knepp. “They can flat out get out and defend you, and we can’t replicate that in practice.”
Miles credited the North Daviess defense with her team’s inability to score in the first half.
“That’s a huge credit to Coach Knepp and his players. Their high 2-3 zone just gave us fits. They made us run our offense so high up that we weren’t able to make an entry pass in there,” said Miles. “And then when were able to get shots off we were too worried about maybe getting fouled or not finishing around the basket. They did a tremendous job as soon as that ball went inside, they just completely hovered over it.”
Both teams were able to get untracked in the third quarter, but Washington outscored North Daviess 15-11 to forge a 31-16 lead heading into the fourth quarter. WHS doubled up the Lady Cougars 20-10 in the final eight minutes to secure the victory.
Cheyenne Jones scored 13 points for Washington, followed by six from Carrie Lane off the bench. Audra Stallman scored three points but led the Lady Hatchet rebounding effort with eight boards. Taylor Mallett topped North Daviess with eight points, followed by seven apiece from Meghan Knepp and Sabra Smith. Smith added 11 rebounds for ND.
Despite the loss, Knepp saw a positive for his squad, which will compete in one of the toughest Class A sectionals in the state at the end of the season.
“We have to play teams like Washington to get ready for our sectional, and I can’t think of a better team to play for us. They play hard, they are extremely well coached, it’s just a good game for us to play,” said Knepp.
Washington claimed the JV contest 44-18. Emily Mahan led WHS with seven points, while Sydnie Reed topped ND with 10 points.
Washington returns to action with a trip to Pike Central on Thursday, while North Daviess is scheduled to host Orleans on Tuesday.