It wasn’t pretty, but the Washington girls basketball team earned its second win of the season.
The Hatchets (2-1) defeated Sullivan (1-0) 74-39 Friday night at the Hatchet House in the home opener behind a balanced offensive attack featuring front court dominance from Audra Stallman and Cheyenne Jones.
Midway through the first quarter, Sullivan held a slim 5-4 lead when Arrows’ coach Julie Meeks took a timeout. Out of the timeout, Washington outscored Sullivan 10-4 in the final 4:10 of the quarter to hold a 15-8 lead after eight minutes. Stallman led all scorers with six points in the first quarter including back-to-back layups to push the lead to seven.
“Our decision-making and the action of what we wanted to do just wasn’t there,” said Washington coach Gretchen Miles. “We had the right intention of where we wanted to go, which is inside, just the way we picked our angles wasn’t the best at the beginning. Give our guards and post players credit, they just kept working and fighting. The big change for us was Ally (Hunsinger) was being able to see over the defense from the perimeter to get the ball inside to score.”
Washington flexed its muscles while outscoring Sullivan 21-12 in the second quarter, despite the Arrows’ connecting on four 3-pointers. Jones and sophomore point guard Jenna Johnson each scored five points in the quarter to give the Hatchets a 36-20 halftime lead.
In the second half, things didn’t get any easier for Sullivan. Senior guard Lupe Perez scored 10 of her 14 points in the third quarter as the Hatchets outscored the Arrows 22-13. Stallman scored five more points and Jones was 3-for-4 from the foul line. Leading 68-33 after three quarters, Miles was able to get her starters some rest in what was a total team effort. Nine different Hatchets made a basket.
Stallman finished with 18 points and eight rebounds and Johnson had seven points, six rebounds and five steals. Jones added 14 points on just two made baskets as she made 10-of-12 from the foul line.
“Anytime you can have a lot of kids step up in the scoring column, it just gives us more threats,” Miles said. “Throughout the whole season, people are going to key in on Hunsinger and that will open things up for everyone else. Audra Stallman had a fantastic night, not just on scoring, but with how she was posting inside and also hitting the boards. With Cheyenne and a lot of our kids we talk about basketball is a game of mistakes, but it’s how you handle it after those mistakes. It was good to see her not getting down on herself and even when she got fouled she had the confidence to knock down those free throws.”
After scoring just seven points in Tuesday’s loss at Mt. Carmel, the Sullivan defense held Ally Hunsinger to three points in the first half, and 10 points for the game. Miles said she isn’t concerned about Hunsinger finding her points when the Hatchets really need her.
“Ally is a top notch player,”Miles said. “Teams we play will have a defensive scheme to to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible. The situation tonight arose for us that she was able to get the ball inside to our post players that we had so many other kids step up in the scoring column.”
Washington has two tough road games next week with games at Big 8 rival Vincennes Lincoln and at Class A No. 6 Barr-Reeve.
“Next week is a huge week for us,” Miles said. “It’s never easy when we have to go to Vincennes to play Lincoln. They are a very athletic team, quick team that can shoot the ball very well from the outside. We definitely have to work on containing that outside shot and also defending the dribble drive. Barr-Reeve is always fundamentally sound, athletic, competitive and really gets up and down the floor.”