By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
The Washington girls basketball team started fast and finished fast, but in between Mount Carmel, Ill., won a game.
The Hatchets (1-1, 0-1 Big 8) lost its first conference game of the season, 65-57, Tuesday at the Hatchet House.
Washington knew it would need a big scoring night from all its players if it was going to beat Mt. Carmel in the Big 8 Conference opener. The Hatchets and Aces both came out firing in the first quarter.
Washington led 18-17 after the first eight minutes, played at a frenetic pace. Tyra Buss paced the Mt. Carmel scoring attack with eight points, shooting 4-for-10 from the field. It was just the beginning of another high volume scoring night for Buss, who averaged 35 points per game last season.
“When this game started, Mt. Carmel’s track meet and our track meet are two different philosphies,” said Washington coach Gretchen Miles. “We like to get out and run, but when you have Tyra Buss leading the pack, it turns into a tremendous track meet.”
In the second and third quarters, the Aces took control of the game as they outscored the Hatchets 30-18 to take a 47-36 lead into the fourth quarter. Buss continued to attack the Washington defense, and for the most part, she had to work very hard for her points.
In the first half, Buss made only five of her 18 shot attempts for 13 points. In the second half, Buss was more economical with her shot attempts, making six of 13, to finish with 33 points.
Washington senior guard Audra Lane drew the Buss defensive assignment, and Miles thought Lane’s performance was one of the keys to keeping the Hatchets in the game.
“She (Lane) had a difficult assignment — face guarding Buss and handling most of the ball handling on the other end,” Miles said. “She never came out of the game, and stepped up big.”
The back breaker for Washington was its inability to take care of the ball. The Hatchets turned the ball over 27 times, and only forced seven. In addition to her 33 points, Buss also had 11 steals, many of which led to easy layups in transition.
“When they started making their run, and Tyra (Buss) got out in transition, it was because we weren’t being strong with the basketball with lazy passes,” Miles said. “It’s not always the girl with the basketball. It’s what are the other four players doing. Are they standing around watching or getting involved in the play? Those are things we talked about that are fixable, but we have to get back to work tomorrow.”
Washington won the fourth quarter, 21-18, but it wasn’t enough as Mt. Carmel came away with the eight-point victory. Washington got 20 points and 12 rebounds from junior Ally Hunsinger, 12 points from Hannah Mason as well as 10 points a piece from Lupe Perez and Audra Stallman. Hunsinger was very effective in the time she was on the court, making eight of her 12 shots. But for the second consecutive game, the Hatchets leading scorer fouled out in the fourth quarter.
“She’s (Hunsinger) a lot more valuable to us on the floor than off the floor,” Miles said. “Ally is learning game by game that too. We were very proud of her as far as her rebounding went. Against South Knox she had two rebounds, tonight she had 12. Timing and situational phases of the game — we have to have her mentally tougher to make smarter decisions in the fouling process. We’re a lot better with Hunsinger on the floor.”
MT. CARMEL 17 14 16 18 - 65
WASHINGTON 18 9 9 21 - 57
Mt, Carmel (65)
Lang 3 0-1 1 7, Buss 11 10-17 1 33, Tennis 1 2-2 3 4, Keepes 1 0-2 2 3, Rosignal 2 5-6 2 9, Hicks 0 1-2 0 1, Dardeen 3 0-0 1 8
Totals: 21 18-30 10 65
Lane 2 0-0 4 5, Mason 5 0-0 2 12, Hunsinger 8 2-2 5 20, Perez 3 4-5 5 10, Stallman 3 4-4 2 10, Lundy 0 0-0 0 0
Totals: 21 10-11 19 57
3-point goals: Washington 5 (Mason 2, Hunsinger 2 Lane 1) Mt. Carmel 5 ( Dardeen 2, Lang 1, Buss 1, Keepes 1.)