MT. VERNON — MT. VERNON – A furious fourth quarter comeback turned into a fatal final two minutes of play as Washington dropped its Big 8 Conference opener 40-39 at Mt. Vernon on Friday.
After falling behind 37-26 with just under 6:00 to play in the game, Washington (2-4, 0-1) ran off 13 consecutive points against Mt. Vernon (2-3, 2-0). Colton Garland, the Hatchets’ leading scorer on the night with 19 points, started the run with a 3-pointer, followed by another trey from Andy Garland.
Colton Garland dialed long distance again, then added a basket and a pair of free throws, giving WHS a 39-37 lead with 2:34 on the clock.
But unfortunately that would end the scoring for the Hatchets. Mt. Vernon’s Bryce Newman, who led the Wildcats with 17 points, hit one of two free throws with 1:33 left to cut the Hatchet lead to one at 39-38.
After committing 13 turnovers through three quarters, the Hatchets didn't rack up a single miscue in erasing a double-digit deficit during the 13-0 fourth quarter run. But with the game on the line, Washington turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions in a span of :30 seconds. In between Mt. Vernon’s Damon Collins scored to give the Wildcats the lead back at 40-39. Collins was fouled after the second Hatchet turnover but missed the front end of the bonus attempt with :30 to play.
Washington, however, was unable to get a good look at the basket on its final possession, with Andy Garland missing a hurried fall away jumper as time expired on a loss that shouldn’t have been according to Hatchet coach Gene Miiller.
“We just gave another one away, that’s all there is to it. We worked against a 1-3-1 trap every day in practice this week even though they don’t run it very often. I don’t know why they ever got out of it.” Said Miller. “If I was them, I don’t why they ever got out it because every time they ran it we turned the ball over.