By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
The Washington girls basketball team came out fast, determined to get back above .500.
The Hatchets (3-2) defeated North Daviess, 34-18, behind 16 points and nine rebounds from junior forward Ally Hunsinger Thursday.
Visiting the Cougar Den, the Hatchets scored the game¹s first eight points before the Cougars realized what had happened, prompting a timeout three minutes into the game by North Daviess head coach Ron Knepp. The Cougars weathered the storm to an extent following the timeout, trailing 12-5 after the first quarter.
After getting the first basket of the second quarter from forward Sabra Smith, the lead was cut to 12-7, and the Cougars were alive. That momentum was short lived as Washington turned the heat up offensively and defensively as they ended the first half on a 10-0 run taking a 22-7 lead at halftime.
The two teams nearly played to a tie in the second half as Washington cruised to a 34-18 victory.
Washington head coach Gretchen Miles said the key to the victory was the defensive attitude for all 32 minutes. The strong defensive play led to a collective scoring effort. In addition to Hunsinger's 16 points, the Hatchets got eight points and three assists from Lupe Perez, and four points and four rebounds from Audra Stallman.
"Our team niche is that we just have to play defense day in and day out," Miles said. "It doesn¹t matter who's on the schedule or what opponent is coming up, for us to get our offense sparked, we have to start to get to work on the defensive end."Through the first two games of the season, a win and a loss, Hunsinger was having trouble staying out of foul trouble. That issue has subsided, as it has for the entire team, and has resulted in two straight wins to get back above .500.
"It¹s just a collective whole," Miles said. "The kids work well out there together. They help each other out. They let each other know on positive situations, and how to help each other out of sticky situations. I think she
(Hunsinger) is figuring out the silliness of some fouls as opposed to others. I thought, as a collective group, they played extremely well on both ends of the floor. Offensively we weren¹t hitting those perimeter shots, but fortunately for us we were able to lock it in on the defensive end." On the flip side, Ron Knepp¹s squad suffered their first loss of the season, which is something Knepp wanted to see how his team would handle. Washington is unlike any of the first five teams the Cougars have defeated this season, in that they have a versatile offensive and defensive attack.
"Washington is a very physical, strong defensive team," Knepp said. ³We wanted a test like this to see where we are, and see what we need to improve." Knepp thought his defense played pretty well outside of the initial 8-0 Hatchet burst to open the game.
³Defensively again, we followed the defensive game plan once we got settled down," Knepp said. "Once we settled down after that 8-0 run I thought defensively we kept them in check. It was 12-7 for a long time. We just couldn¹t score the ball. We couldn¹t get shots to go when we got them. You have to hand it to Washington, the reason we were getting tough shots is they were playing with a heck of defensive pressure." The Cougars have struggled in its first six games offensively, and that trend continued Thursday. Smith had 10 points to lead North Daviess, followed by Meghan Knepp with six and a late basket from Brooke Schwartzentruber on a night that it collectively shot 23 percent from the field.
"Sabra (Smith) is a scorer,² Knepp said. "She finds way to get points in any game. She finds ways to score for us. We need to knock down shots, and other players knock down shots when they¹re open. Tonight we just didn¹t get that accomplished. Again, I don¹t know that it was so much our shooting as much as their defense."
Washington 12 10 8 4 - 34
North Daviess 5 2 4 7 - 18
Washington (34) - Lane 1 0-0 2 2, Stallman 2 0-0 1 4, Perez 4 0-0 1 8, Mason 0 0-0 0 0, Hunsinger 7 2-2 1 16, Lundy 1 2-2 2 4. Totals 15 4-4 7 34.
North Daviess (18) - Smith 4 2-3 1 10, Hollis 0 0-0 0 0, Fitzgerald 0 0-0 1 0, Knepp 2 0-0 0 6, Mallett 0 0-0 0 0, M. Schwartzentruber 0 0-0 1 0, B.
Schwartzentruber 1 0-0 0 2. Totals 7 2-3 3 18.
3-point goals: North Daviess 2 (Knepp 2).