FORT BRANCH — The Washington girls basketball team is rounding into form at exactly the right time.
The Class 3A No. 10 Hatchets (13-2) defeated Gibson Southern (9-6) 58-54 behind 18 points and eight rebounds from senior Ally Hunsinger.
Washington scored the first 10 points of the game to take control early and held a comfortable 21-11 lead after one quarter. Gibson Southern fought back by hitting from behind the arc. Washington outscored Gibson Southern by a 14-11 mark in the second to take a 35-22 lead into halftime.
Gibson Southern came out firing in the second half to give Washington all it could handle down the stretch. With eight seconds remaining and the Hatchets up one point and senior Audra Stallman stepped to the free throw line and knocked down both shots to put Washington up three points. The Titans missed a potentional tying 3-pointer to seal the win for the Hatchets.
“This type of environment was great for us to play in,” said Washington coach Gretchen Miles. “We need to learn to win on the road, in tight situations, and learn to grind it out and find a way to win no matter what the situation may be. Gibson Southern is a very good ball team, and good teams make runs. They rattled off too many three-point shots that got them back into the game, and we became stagnant on the offensive end. We had quite a few players make big plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor. Audra Stallman and Cheyenne Jones coming up with huge rebounds, Lupe Perez with a big steal for us, Ally Hunsinger hit big shots and hit the boards, Emily Mahan netted a big three for us, Jenna Johnson handling the ball and came up with an important loose ball, and Audra Stallman stepped up to the free-throw in the closing seconds a hit two big free throws for us. This time of year we have to fine tune the fundamentals of the game and find ways to pull out the win and the players did that today. They made big plays on both ends of the floor together”
Stallman scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds, Cheyenne Jones had 11 points, Jenna Johnson had 10 points and six assists. Emily Mahan had five points, Lupe Perez had two points and Carrie Lane had one point. Washington dropped the junior varsity game 35-27.