It took almost three months, but the trip to the Hatchet House was well worth the wait for the North Daviess Cougars.
After seeing winter weather postpone the renewal of their county rivalry with Washington from early December, North Daviess made the most of its trip down I-69 by defeating the Hatchets 60-56 on Tuesday.
North Daviess (10-10) started strong and finished strong against Washington (6-13). ND led 14-3 after one quarter and outscored the Hatchets 22-17 in the fourth quarter to secure the Cougars’ third consecutive victory over Washington in as many seasons.
North Daviess overcame 14 turnovers but dominated the rebounding battle (34-16) and placed three players in double figures in a big win according to coach Brent Dalrymple.
“We’ve been trying to do this type of game all year. We’ve got 10 losses, and either in six or seven of our 10 losses we’ve had some sort of lead in the fourth quarter, and we just can’t finish it out,” said Dalrymple. “To see our kids do what we talk about in practice, do what we talk about in film out here on the floor, I just couldn’t be prouder of our kids for continuing to fight.
“Teams here at the end of the season can go one way or the other. They can just pack it in or just fight and fight and fight,” said Dalrymple. “You saw what we did here tonight.”
Washington led 39-38 after three quarters, but the Cougars went on a 12-4 run to open the final period and take control of the game. Dusten Cook, who led all scorers with 20 points, and Alex Wittmer both hit 3-pointers during the run as ND built as much as a nine-point lead at 54-45 with 2:50 remaining.
Washington, however, didn’t quit and eventually closed the gap to two points on a 3-pointer from Colton Garland with 1:05 left. Washington had a chance to tie or take the lead after ND’s Brady Helms missed the front end of a one and bonus with :53 on the clock. The Hatchets, however, were unable to score on the ensuing possession, and two free throws from Wittmer with :13 left helped seal the deal for the Cougars.