HUNGTINBURG - A difficult third quarter proved fatal as Washington was unable to cool off a hot Southridge squad in a 61-52 loss at Memorial Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Class 3A No. 12 Southridge (15-4) brought an eight-game winning streak into the contest against Washington (5-12) but the Hatchets fought well, leading 17-16 after one quarter before trailing 29-25 at halftime. But the Raiders claimed the third quarter 20-8 to take a 49-33 lead into the final eight minutes of action. The Hatchets outscored Southridge 19-12 in the fourth quarter but the damage had already been done.
Despite the loss, Washington coach Gene Miiller was pleased with his team’s performance against the taller Raiders on the same floor where his team will compete in sectional action in two weeks.
“I thought we all played hard, we moved the basketball well throughout the game against their match up. We cut and moved, there were times we did some things we wanted to do against them, but we were just a second late getting him the basketball or we missed him all together,” said Miiller.
“We just have to do a better job of that when we’re open. But Southridge is just so long, they’re lanky and athletic, it’s tough to pass the ball around there.”
The Raiders’ size advantage - Southridge started four players who stood 6-3 or taller - was a concern, but the Hatchets allowed just eight offensive rebounds. However, it wasn’t the second chance points that disappointed Miiller but too many easy first chances.
“You could see how they’ve won eight in a row, they played very well tonight,” Miiller said of Southridge. “I’ve seen them play twice live and about five or six times on film, and that’s best I’ve seen them play. They handled the basketball well, they shot the ball well, they moved the ball well. It looked like a well oiled machine, they just played really well tonight.
“I thought we played well, we played hard, we got after it. We gave them too many easy shots in half-court defense,” said Miiller. “They got the ball way too deep on us, and with their size, if you let them catch it that deep, it’s pretty hard to stop.”
Matthew Stephens paced the Hatchets with four points in the first quarter Colton Garland and Connor Brown each hit a 3-pointer for three points apiece in the opening eight minutes. But Southridge rebounded to take the second stanza 14-8, forging a 29-25 halftime advantage.
Garland finished with four 3-pointers to lead the Hatchets with 14 points. Matthew Sparks was next with 12, followed by nine from Stephens. Connor Brown hit a pair of trey’s while scoring eight points, followed by five from Jacob Overton and four from Jake Bedwell.
Cody Thompson led the Raiders with 18 points, followed by 12 from Chad O’Bryan and 11 from Evan Julian.
Southridge claimed the JV game 46-23. Clay Walker led the way for the Hatchets with eight points, followed by five from Luke Raymond and three apiece from Chase Clymer and Reid Neff.
Washington returns home on Friday to host Mt. Carmel