VINCENNES - Favored Washington made quick work of Pike Central in Sectional 31 at Alice Arena on Wednesday as the Lady Hatchets defeated the Lady Chargers 74-39.
Class 3A No. 9 Washington (17-3) started strong and never looked back against Pike Central (3-18). Ally Hunsinger dialed long distance three times on the way to 11 first quarter points, outscoring the Lady Chargers all by herself, as Washington led 22-7 after eight minutes of action. Pike Central briefly led 1-0 on a free throw by Emily Howes, but Washington’s Jenna Johnson quickly gave the Lady Hatchets a 2-1 lead and Washington never looked back.
If the Lady Hatchets had any rust from a nearly two week layoff it didn’t show. Washington shot 58 percent (14-24) from the field in the first half, committed just five turnovers, and out rebounded PC 18-8. The Lady Hatchets limited the Lady Chargers to 18 percent (4-22) shooting and forced eight Pike Central turnovers. Washington led 36-13 at the half, with Cheyenne Jones adding seven points in addition to Hunsinger’s 11.
The quick start was a key for the Lady Hatchets according to coach Gretchen Miles.
“I thought they got off to a tremendous start at the beginning of the game, except for some rebounding hit and misses, but of course as coaches you’re always ready to pick on something. But I thought just the way they shared the basketball, the way we got off to a good start hitting the basket makes a huge difference,” said Miles. “Also, getting the defensive stops were a big deal right from the get go.”
Miles was pleased with how her entire roster responded against the Lady Chargers.
“Overall, tonight, I thought everyone played well. Everyone did what they were supposed to do. Ally stepped up and hit those big shots a senior is supposed to hit, that really helped with our younger kids’ jitters when she hit those shots early,” said Miles. “I thought Cheyenne and Audra were huge on the boards tonight, and it was good to see Lupe out there.”
Though Washington wasn’t quite the same juggernaut in the second half, the Lady Hatchets still outscored PC 17-11 in the third quarter to forge a 53-24 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Washington placed 10 players in the scoring column, led by 17 from Hunsinger and 12 apiece from Johnson and Jones. Emily Mahan added eight points, followed by five from Izzy Waggoner, four apiece from Lupe Perez and Audra Stallman, and two points each from McKenzie Norton and Kaitlyn Davis.
Pike Central was led by 15 points from Emily Howes and eight from Samantha Halbrader.
Washington will face Southridge (13-5), a 48-44 winner over Jasper (11-9) in Wednesday’s first game, in Friday’s second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Miles knows the Lady Raiders, guided by veteran coach Greg Werner, will be ready.
“Coach Werner is an exceptional coach, he’s just very intelligent about the game, about personnel, and each opponent,” said Miles. “His team is a guard oriented team, they stepped up big time tonight to beat a very good Jasper team. They’re young sophomores that he has mostly on his team, but getting that big win against Jasper tonight makes their confidence soar.”
Action Friday at Vincennes begins with Mitchell (7-10) facing host Vincennes Lincoln (9-11) at 6 p.m.