Grant Niehaus led four players in double figures as Washington ran its winning streak to six consecutive games with a 75-57 win over Wood Memorial at the Hatchet House on Saturday.
Washington (8-3) led from start to finish against Wood Memorial (3-10) but didn’t find things quite as easy against the Trojans as in their previous two outings, blow out wins over Mt. Vernon and North Knox. The Hatchets led 24-8 after one quarter of play but foul trouble helped keep the Trojans in the game at halftime.
Bryce Browning and Hunter Killion each finished with 12 points for the Hatchets, but they along with Niehaus had each been whistled for their second personal foul of the half with less than a minute gone in the second quarter. With that trio on the bench, the Hatchets struggled and saw Wood Memorial outscore WHS 17-10 in the second quarter. Washington led 34-25 at the half.
With three starters on the bench, the Hatchets lost the aggressiveness they had exhibited in the game’s opening quarter according to coach Gene Miiller.
“With those fouls in the second quarter, I guess if I looked back at it now I might have done things differently. There were our top three scorers sitting on the bench for the second quarter, and we kind of struggled in that second quarter scoring,” said Miiller. “And I think it affected us at the defensive as well. We lost the momentum there, defensively we never did play very well after the first quarter.”
Wood Memorial actually got the lead down to six points on three occasions early in the second half, the first on a basket by Paxon Bartley to open the third quarter. Bartley was game’s leading scorer with 30 points.
But Washington rebounded to extend the lead to 10 points at 48-38 by the end of the quarter, and then finished off the Trojans by outscoring Wood 27-19 in the fourth quarter. Niehaus scored nine of his points in the fourth quarter, including hitting on 5-6 from the line. Overall, WHS was 9-12 from the stripe in the final eight minutes.
Though Washington wasn’t at its best defensively, Miiller did like the continued balanced scoring his team showed against the Trojans.
“Offensively, we did have good balance with four guys in double figures again. We’ve been getting a lot better balance the last few ballgames,” said Miiller. “We just have to continue getting better. We have another conference ballgame against Jasper next
Friday, we know that’s going to be a tough ballgame.
Tyson Wright added 10 points for the Hatchets. Trey Reed was next with nine points, including 5-5 from the foul line. Julius Hardiman scored seven points, while Kiowa Jones added four points. Washington shot 56 percent (28-50) from the field and committed just six turnovers compared to 14 miscues by Wood Memorial.
Wright and Browning finished with four assists each, while Killion led the Hatchets with seven rebounds.
Cameron Saulmon joined Bartley in double figures for the Trojans with 13 points.
Washington remained hot on the JV level as well with a 72-48 win. Zach Gray topped the Hatchets with 22 points, followed by 10 apiece from Jones and Alex Dieudonne. Alex Boyd added eight points.
Washington returns to Big 8 Conference action on Friday when the Hatchets host Jasper.