By Mike Myers
The Washington Lady Hatchets extended their winning streak to three games and continued their push toward the post season with a 57-37 Big 8 Conference win over Boonville at the Hatchet House on Tuesday.
Washington (11-5, 2-4) won for the third consecutive outing and fourth time in five games during the month of January in defeating Boonville (3-12, 0-4). And it was the Hatchets twin towers of forward Ally Hunsinger and center Audra Stallman who led the way.
Hunsinger led Washington with 18 points, including 5-6 from the free throw line. Stallman added 17 points as the Lady Hatchets clinched at least an 11-win season for the third consecutive campaign.
After a second quarter which saw the Lady Hatchets squander much of a double digit first quarter lead to take only a six point margin into the locker room, Washington coach Gretchen Miles was happy to see her team come out in the second half and take care of business.
“Boonville dug their heels in to try and stop that inside game in the second quarter, and we were getting pretty complacent around the perimeter,” said Miles. “The second half we just really just turned the corner, we were a lot more patient on the offensive end and dug our heels in on the defensive end.
Guards Audra Lane and Lupe Perez just missed reaching double figures with nine points apiece. Cheyenne Jones and Jenna Johnson rounded out the scoring with two points each for WHS.
Washington dominated much of the first half before the Lady Pioneers went an 11-6 run to cut a 22-10 Lady Hatchet lead to six at 27-21 by halftime. Still, the Lady Hatchets appeared well on their to victory at half after WHS forced 11 Boonville turnovers in the first half and out rebounded the Lady Pioneers 14-9, including seven Lady Hatchet offensive rebounds.
Stallman scored 12 points in the opening half, while Hunsinger added seven. Boonville’s Samantha McDowell did the bulk of the damage for the Lady Pioneers, scoring 12 points in the first half on the way to a team high 18 points.
But after halftime, Washington got back to its bread and butter, which on this winter evening was looking down low to Stallman and Hunsinger, where the juniors were nearly unstoppable. Stallman scored five points in the third period as WHS extended its lead back to double digits at 36-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
Hunsinger took over from there, scoring nine points in the final eight minutes as the Lady Hatchets pulled away.
Miles credited her backcourt with looking to the low post after halftime.
“The second half we did a lot better job of finding Ally and Audra inside. Our guards did a better job of being patient and giving them time to post and allowing them to get to the free throw line,” said Miles.
Miles was also impressed with her team’s efforts on the defensive and on the boards. The Lady Hatchets forced 16 turnovers and out rebounded the Lady Pioneers 32-14. Lane finished with seven rebounds, while Stallman added eight boards and Hunsinger six.
“The second half they really locked it in on the defensive end, and I thought we really did a tremendous job on the boards tonight,” said Miles. “We only allowed four offensive rebounds for the game.”
In the JV contest, the Lady Hatchets used balanced scoring to soundly defeat Boonville 48-30. Five players - Cheyenne Jones, Emily Mahan, Izzy Waggoner, Blake Ochs, and Jenna Johnson - scored six points apiece for WHS.
The Lady Hatchets now have a week off before hosting Mitchell on Tuesday.