By Dennis Glade
It wasn’t pretty, but the Washington girls basketball team held on for its first win of the season.
The Hatchets (1-0) defeated South Knox (0-1), 48-46, in Tuesday evening’s home opener at the Hatchet House behind 13 points from Ally Hunsinger and 11 from Audra Lane. The win was the third straight season Washington opened with a victory against South Knox.
The Hatchets came out firing on their way to a 13-point advantage after one period, but the Warriors battled all night. In the final minute, South Knox pulled within 48-46, and had possession after the 22nd turnover of the night, a travel call on Washington guard Hannah Mason.
South Knox senior guard Hope Mikiska missed the tying jump shot, and Mason corralled the rebound and headed to the foul line with an opportunity to put the game away. Mason missed the front end of the one-and-one. The Hatchet defense then forced a traveling call on Olivia Carroll to ice the victory for Washington.
“This was a great first game for us to get some things out of our system,” said Washington head coach Gretchen Miles. “We had our backs against the wall. Anytime you can find a way to win in adversity, good things are going to happen with this group.”
From the outset, Washington looked like it might run South Knox out of the gym as the Hatchets scored the game’s first nine points and led 15-2 after one quarter.
“I think when you make shots, it’s contagious,” Miles said. “Everybody had a little extra hop in their step when they knew the first basket of the new season finally went in and opened up the flood gates. South Knox kept knocking at the door. We had the ability to put a team away and we didn’t do that. That’s what comes with our inexperience on the varsity level right now, as the season goes on that’s definitely going to improve.”
The key to the Spartan comeback. which saw them cut the lead at halftime to eight and seven going into the final period, was their ability to get to the foul line and their ability to make shots from behind the three-point line.
South Knox connected on four of five three-point attempts in the fourth quarter, and they made five of their eight tries overall. The Spartans also made 12 of 16 at the charity stripe, lead by forward Marissa Dare, who made five of six on her way to 11 points and four rebounds.
“I think you always you need to defend the (three-point) line,” Miles said. “If a girl can lift that basketball then we’re not close enough. When some of those girls start to hit one or two, we’ve got to know that we have to defend out a little bit higher. South Knox, they were so quick, they can hit that three set shot and they had an amazing first step.”
Washington was led in scoring by Ally Hunsinger with 13 points, including an important three to extend the lead to 43-37 midway through the final period before she fouled out. The slack was picked up by junior Lupe Perez who had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Forward Audra Stallman also added four points and nine rebounds.
“We always try to train our kids that we have a backup to the backup,” Miles said. “You never know what will happen with injuries, foul trouble, sicknesses. We feel confident that the next girl that’s ready to go in has that confidence to go in to get that done.”
South Knox 46
Wilson 3 0-0 3 9, Dare 3 5-6 0 11, Carroll 2 4-4 3 8, Burkhart 2 2-2 3 7, Mikiska 1 2-2 0 5, Kirk 1 0-2 0 2, Copp 2 0-0 4 4
Totals 14 13-16 14 46
Hunsinger 6 0-0 5 13, Lane 3 4-5 1 11, Perez 4 2-2 0 10, Jones 3 1-2 2 8, Stallman 2 0-0 4 4, Mason 0 2-3 3 2
Totals 18 9-12 15 48
Score by quarters
South Knox 2 15 9 20 - 46
Washington 15 10 8 15 - 48