By Gregg A. Sims
Washington Times Herald
Two years may not seem like a lot of time in many situations, but for Washington junior Ally Hunsinger, two years has been like night and day.
Hunsinger is entering her third year of varsity basketball for the Hatchets, and is beginning to see bigger pictures on a daily basis.
As a freshman, she felt a bit timid, playing with older players that she was not that familiar with.
And even though older players did a good job of making her feel at home, the comfort level is much better and now she is one of the older players trying to make the younger players reach that level of comfort.
“I’ve been playing with the girls on our team now for several years,” Hunsinger said. “When I was a freshman I played with girls that I never had really gone to school with at all. They made me feel comfortable and accepted me, but it’s really comfortable when it seems like you’ve been with a group for ever. The chemistry is up there.”
Washington opened its season Tuesday with a 48-46 win against South Knox at the Hatchet House. Hunsinger was the team’s leading scorer with 13 points. She made a critical three-pointer late in the contest before fouling out.
The junior believes it is easier to make those shots with better emotional control.
“I’ve definitely matured,” Hunsinger. “I manage my emotions better. My experience helps me help my team.
Known as a post player and a power forward, Hunsinger is filling a similar role to date with the Hatchets. There’s nothing wrong with that. She enjoys playing the position.
She has the athletic ability to drive the lane and draws fouls in the process.
But there is a chance she may have more opportunities to play away from the basket as the season progresses. That would be a change, but one that she wouldn’t mind.
“I’ve done a lot of work with my shooting this past summer,” Hunsinger said. “I think my shooting is improved and may be my best offensive strength. I’ve tended to put my head down and gone to the basket first, but I need to take a second to look at the basket first and see if there is a shot there.”
The Hatchets finished 14-8 last winter. They were 3-3 in the Big Eight, with losses coming to Mount Carmel, Ill., Vincennes Lincoln and Jasper before winning against Princeton, Mount Vernon and Boonville.
“I think we’re going to get up and go more this season,” Hunsinger said. “Especially by the end of the year. I like to get out.
Hunsinger hopes Washington can improve its conference standing, and would like to see a deeper sectional run after defeating Heritage Hills, 49-41, and then losing to Jasper, 39-32.
“Princeton is going to be very good this year with Jackie Young (a freshman coming in),” Hunsinger said. The Tigers opened their season with a 44-24 victory against Southridge. “Mount Carmel is going to be very good with Tyra Buss. I played AAU with Jackie this year, and was on AAU teams with Tyra. It was really nice to see her play.”
Mount Carmel comes to the Hatchet House Tuesday for Washington’s conference opener.
Now in her third year, Hunsinger has a deeper understanding of the importance of a team working together, and a better understanding of what she needs to do to improve as a player.
“You have to rely on your teammates,” Hunsinger said. “We all have to be together — stick together — if we are going to win anything. They team is your family, and they’re all you’ve got. I have to know when to take my shots and when to pass. I try to encourage everyone and help be a leader. Underclassmen tend to watch you in practice, and if they see you working hard, they will work hard. We just need to take care of our team.”