Like any coach around the holidays with a team still seeking its first victory of the season, what Gene Miiller needed most for Christmas heading into Saturday’s game with Forest Park at the Hatchet House was a win.
Fortunately for Miiller, several of his players were bearing gifts late in the game as the Hatchets claimed a 50-47 win.
After seeing a fourth quarter lead slip away Friday at Edgewood, Saturday’s win was particularly welcome.
“I think it was very important for us to walk away with a win tonight, especially in this type of ballgame,” said Miiller. “It would have been very tough losing two ballgames like that in a weekend. Hopefully it will give us confidence and spur us on for the rest of the season.”
The stars were many for Washington (1-2) in the fourth quarter against Forest Park (1-2). The Hatchets led 36-31 heading into the fourth quarter, but an 8-2 run to open the period gave the Rangers the lead for the first time in the contest. But Austin Ghirardelli helped stem the tide for WHS with a big 3-pointer to put the Hatchets back on top 41-39 with 4:11 to play.
Forest Park, however, would eventually forge a 46-43 lead with under 2:00 to play. And with the Rangers in possession of the ball, things were looking bleak for the Hatchets.
Enter Colton Garland. The sophomore guard picked up a steal at midcourt and drove in for a layup to bring WHS back to within a point with 1:31 to play.
After Weyer hit one of two free throws with :44 left to make the score 47-45, the Hatchets had a chance to tie or take the lead. And chances were what the Hatchets got as WHS, which outrebounded the Rangers 25-24, got three looks at the basket on their next possession.
The first two shots were misses by Andy Garland, but both times Garland followed his shot and picked up offensive rebounds to keep the possession alive. The third shot of the possession came from the Colton Garland from the left wing, and that attempt found the bottom of the net from beyond the arc to the Hatchets a 48-47 lead with 14.8 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Forest Park worked the ball Ben Englert, who scored nine of his 13 points in the second half. Englert tried to drive the baseline but found the path blocked by Washington’s Jake Bedwell. Bedwell’s tough defense forced Englert to lose his balance and dribble the ball out of bounds with 5.9 seconds left.
On the ensuing inbounds play, the Hatchets got the ball to Matt Stephens. Stephens was immediately fouled, and the freshman calmly stepped the foul line and sank both charity tosses to give the Hatchets a 50-47 lead.
Damon Wilmes got the final look for Forest Park but his 3-pointer was off as the buzzer sounded.
It was total team effort throughout the game for the Hatchets, who placed three players in double figures and had seven players reach the scoring column. And it was indicative of
“We had a lot of different guys who contributed throughout the ballgame. And down the stretch we had a lot of guys who contributed as well,” said Miiller. “That’s kind of team we have to have. We have to everybody contributing, doing what they can to make us the best team we can be.”
Colton Garland and Andy Garland scored 12 points apiece for the Hatchets, with Stephens adding 10 points, including 5-7 from the free throw line. Ghirardelli added five points, with Tyler Stoll and Jarrod Purdue netting four points each. Stoll also led the Hatchets with eight rebounds, including five offensive boards. Bedwell added three points.
Weyer led the Rangers with 15 points.
In the JV contest, Clay Walker scored 14 points to lead the Hatchets to a 37-32 win. Jacob Overton added nine for the reserve Hatchets.
The Hatchets remain at home this coming weekend when Washington hosts Evansville Bosse on Friday and Loogootee on Saturday.
FP 5- 10- 16- 16- 47
WHS 8- 11- 17- 14- 50
Forest Park (47)
Weyer 5 3-4 15, Englert 5 3-3 13, Begle 3 0-0 6, Wilmes 3 1-2 9, Egloff 1 0-2 2, Tempel 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 18 7-11 47.
C. Garland 4 2-2 12, A. Garland 5 0-0 12, Stephens 2 5-7 10, Ghirardelli 2 0-0 5, Purdue 2 0-0 4, Bedwell 1 1-2 3.
Totals: 18 8-11 50.
3-point goals: FP; Weyer 2, Wilmes 2. W; C. Garland 2, A. Garland 2, Stephens, Ghirardelli.
Junior Varsity: Washington, 37-32.