By Mike Myers
The Washington Hatchets picked up a much needed win and defeated a strong Evansville Day team at the Hatchet House 50-43 on Thursday.
Washington (7-10) trailed only at 2-0 in defeating Class A No. 8 Evansville Day (15-4), a defending sectional champion from last season. The Hatchets built as much as a 10-point lead in the third quarter after leading 26-21 at halftime.
But the Eagles switched to a 1-3-1 half court trap late in the third quarter, and held the Hatchets scoreless for nearly 8:00, in the process trimming that 10-point Hatchet lead down to one at 34-33 with 6:55 to play in the game.
But a bucket by Cullen Arnold, who tallied 13 points for WHS, followed by a big 3-pointer from Colton Arnold, who topped the Hatchets with 17 points, gave Washington some breathing room.
From there coach Gene Miiller’s team held on from the free throw line, where the Hatchets hit 9-12 in the fourth quarter. Evansville did close to within one at 39-38 with 2:15 to play, but another basket from Arnold pushed the lead back to three seconds later.
Junior Jake Brashear, who to that point had not scored in the game, then came up big for WHS. Inserted at guard to help the Hatchets’ handle the Eagles’ pressure, Brashear was sent to the line eight times in the final 2:00 of the game, connecting on six charity tosses.
“Jake came in and the last three minutes and played like a veteran. He came in, hit 6-8 free throws, played good defense, and came to the ball to catch the basketball,” said Miiller. “That was big lift, him playing really well in that stretch.”
Washington shot nearly 50 percent from the field (18-37) and held the Eagles to 45 percent (17-38) shooting. In particular, Miiller was pleased with the play of Arnold, his 6-7 senior center, who held Evansville’s leading scorer, 6-4 senior center Evan Stieler, to just three points.
“That was a good win because that’s a good basketball team. They really are a good basketball team, they’re tough for anybody to beat,” said Miiller. “I thought defensively again, we played really well. I thought Arnold did a great job on Stieler. I think he’s averaging about 18ppg, and we did a great job on him.”
Andy Garland added seven points for WHS, followed by six from Brashear, four from Tyler Stoll, and three points from Jake Bedwell. Arnold also added two assists and five rebounds, while Stoll led a 22-19 WHS advantage off the glass with eight rebounds.
Will Stevens topped the Eagles with 18 points, followed by 10 from Jeremy LaGrone and eight from Alec Bucshon.
Washington led 15-10 after one quarter and maintained that five-point advantage at the half. The Hatchets fronted 34-29 heading into the final eight minutes of action.
The Hatchet reserve squad of coach Kyle Cornelius claimed its fifth straight victory with a 35-21 win. Carson Smith topped the Hatchets with 19 points followed by Matthew Sparks with seven.
Washington hosts Southridge on Tuesday.