WASHINGTON — The short-handed Washington girls basketball team started slow, but a vigorous second half comeback wasn't enough to ensure a victory on Senior Night.
Class A No. 9 Washington (15-3) fell to North Knox (15-4) 40-34 Saturday at the Hatchet House on a night seniors' Ally Hunsinger, Lupe Perez and Audra Stallman were honored before the game. The Hatchets were without Perez (sprained ankle) and Shawna Webb (concussion) and lost Carrie Lane in the second quarter to an wrist injury.
After a first half to forget for Washington, the Hatchets came out with an inspired second half effort and it started with Hunsinger in her final home game.
Whatever halftime speech Washington coach Gretchen Miles gave in the locker room certainly worked — the Hatchets looked like a different team when the second half started. Washington opened the third quarter with back-to-back baskets from Cheyenne Jones and the first points of the night for Hunsinger on a 3-pointer. With North Knox's lead cut 21-17, the Warriors took a timeout. Out of the timeout, Charlton and Lexi Vieck connected on two 3-pointers, but Hunsinger added two treys of her own to keep Washington within striking distance. Washington closed the quarter trailing by just a point, 29-28, after 11 points from Hunsinger.
"Ally (Hunsinger) is a competitive scorer and she knows you just have to keep shooting the basketball like you've never missed," Miles said. "She stepped up for us big time in that third quarter to be able to do that. I thought we had a lot more shots inside with (Cheyenne) Jones and (Audra) Stallman in the third quarter and we were able to take advantage of those mismatches in there."
Gugliotta opened the fourth quarter with a basket to put the Warriors up 31-28, but Washington answered with a basket each from Hunsinger, Jones and Stallman to take its first lead since the first quarter. Washington led 34-31 after the spurt and forced a North Knox timeout with 2:29 to play in regulation. Out of the timeout, Charlton hit a 3-pointer and Vieck scored three straight baskets to finish off the Hatchets.