By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
Gene Miiller sees his team everyday, and after 10 games, they just aren’t where they need to be.
The Hatchets boys basketball team holds just a 3-7 record as they try to even their conference record at 1-1 in a Big Eight matchup with Jasper (3-6, 2-2) Friday night at the Hatchet House.
After struggling to a disappointing 8-13 record last season, Washington opened this season with losses in five of its first six games. They rebounded by upsetting defending Class A State Champion Loogootee on their banner night at Jack Butcher Arena, 46-29.
This past weekend, the Hatchets squeaked out a one-point overtime win at home against Evansville Mater Dei, but Saturday they lost at home by 18 to Heritage Hills.
“I didn’t think we played real well in either ball game to be honest with you,” Miiller said. “We turned the ball over way too many times on Friday night against Mater Dei, and we were lucky to come out with a win. On Saturday, our defense was just not very good. We did a little bit better job at handling the basketball, but we did not do a very good job of playing defense.”
Miiller said, unfortunately at this point, the Hatchets have a multitude of facets that they need to improve on if they are going to have success on a consistent basis.
“One, is taking care of the basketball, that’s first and foremost,” Miiller said. “Second, we have to do a better job at defending, we’re just not doing a very good job of keeping people out of the lane, and challenge the outside shot. Shot selection has to be better.”
With Jasper coming to town Friday evening the Hatchets will see a familiar foe. The Wildcats are themselves struggling to a disappointing season thus far after a 14-9 record, and a loss to Vincennes Lincoln in the sectional 31 final last spring. Jasper defeated Washington twice last season, once in overtime at Jasper, and then at the Hatchet House in the first round of Sectional 31.
It sounds like a broken record, but Miiller said the Hatchets need to continue to work on the things that he has been talking about through the first 10 games. Limiting turnover, focusing on defensive intensity for the entirety of each game and compete for each and every rebound.
In the final 10 games of the regular season, Washington will take it one game at a time, and see where that takes them.
“We’ve got a long ways to go,”Miiller said. “Not where I would have hoped we would be at this time. We got to get a lot better on both ends of the floor.”