The Washington Lady Hatchets knew their sophomore class might be a special one to watch. On Saturday night, that description went from “might” to “will be.”
The Hatchets posted a season-opening win over North Knox, 59-43, and put three sophomores in double-digit scoring, as Alaina Thorne had 17, Jesse Ledgerwood had 13 and Kencia Levasseur added 11.
Ledgerwood might have been the biggest surprise as she missed her entire freshman season with a knee injury, but she wasted no time proving she was ready to go.
“On the first official day of practice, Jesse was kind of like a ‘kid in the candy shop.’ She was just chomping at the bit to just to get on the court and get the season going. In the first half, she did a great job of busting up their zone and being able to hit shots and transition by hitting the 3-point shot. North Knox, of course is a very young team, but they played very well and shot the ball pretty well. In the second half, we did a better job of just getting out in transition, and getting easy buckets, to be able to kind of get us over the hump, because they’re always just right there. I think there were times that we were bending, we just would never break right and Alaina (Thorne) came up with some big shots and transition for us, and free throws seal the deal right,” said WHS coach Gretchen Miles.
“Alaina seemed like it took a little bit of time for her to get a grasp, but once she did, that was sort of mischievous 17 points.”
North Knox drew first blood, but Ledgerwood answered with her first varsity points off a trey. Melida Ajradinoska also knocked down a trey, followed by a bucket by Alaina Thorne to make it 8-6.
The Hatchets went into the second quarter with a 12-6 margin and Alaina Thorne quickly made it 14-6. A basket from Ali Barber made it 21-13, before she added two free throws to give WHS a 10-point lead. Ajradinoska added her second trey of the night, quickly followed by another long ball from Ledgerwood to send WHS into the half with a 29-15 lead.
After a Levasseur free throw and a basket, and an assist from Ledgerwood, WHS went up by 14, 34-20, its biggest lead of the night, North Knox cut it back to 11. Levasseur added a basket, but NK was able to keep the margin at 11 going into the final eight minutes.
The Warriors continued to chip into the lead, but a pair of baskets from Thorne gave Miles some breathing room. She then added the next couple of baskets to make it, 47-32.
Lady Hatchet Hadley Faith also scored, but NK stayed within striking distance. Alaina Thorne’s fifth basket of the half pushed the lead back to 13 with less than a minute to play. Levasseur added four late free throws to finish off the game, 59-43 and moved to 1-0.
Also scoring for WHS were Barber and Ajraninoska with six each, Faith with four and Quince Healey with two.
“We also have Melida, Ali, Quincee, Hadley and Bella (Thorne), and they know they did a great job of getting the ball where it needed to go. They see ‘cutters’ early and they always have their eye on the floor, but also be able to create things for themselves. They’re always team players,” said Miles.
The JV also won, 31-26, as Bella Thorne and Chloe Browning had 10 points each while Taylor Walls had five.
WHS travels to South Knox on Tuesday.