HUNTINGBURG — Washington avenged last season’s last second defeat to Southridge at the Hatchet House with a 48-42 win over the Raiders at Memorial Gymnasium on Friday.
The win didn’t come easy for Washington (2-1) though the Hatchets made it look easy in the first half. Washington led Southridge (1-2) 32-13 at the break after blistering the nets to the tune of 54 percent (15-28) shooting and committing not one first half turnover. In turn, WHS held the Raiders 24 percent (5-21) shooting and limited the Raiders top offensive threat, junior Colson Montgomery, to just three free throws in the opening 16 minutes of play.
“We played really, really well in the first half. Definitely the best we’ve played all year in the first half,” said Washington coach Gene Miiller, who will look to pick up career win No. 700 when the Hatchets host North Daviess tonight.”We moved the basketball well, we were aggressive attacking the basket, we shot the ball. We played really good defense to hold that team to 13 points in a half.”
But things turned sour in the second half for the black and gold. In the first five minutes of the third quarter Washington was 0-4 from the field and committed four turnovers. By the end of the quarter, the Raiders had cut the lead to eight points at 38-30, and eventually Southridge would trim the Hatchet lead to as few as three points on a Montgomery three with :17 left in the game. A big second half made Montgomery the game’s leading scorer with 21 points.
The Hatchets, however, hung on. Kyle Mann, who along with Zach Gray and Grant Niehaus topped Washington with 12 points each, hit 6-8 from the free throw line in the final stanza, including 5-6 in the final 28 seconds, to preserve the win.
“Our first half was just really good. Then the second half we just came out and we got a little stagnant offensively. Defensively, they hit some shots and they made a run at us,” said Miiller. “But the good thing is our kids held them off, hit some free throws down the stretch, and did some things they had to do to win the basketball game. At the end of the basketball game we had four seniors (Mann, Niehaus, Austin Gere, and Roach) out there, and the senior leadership makes a difference at the end of the ballgame.”
Kiowa Jones was next for the Hatchets with 10 points, followed by two points from Lance Roach. Garrett Voegrel reached double figures for the Raiders with 10 points.
In the JV contest Washington remained perfect on the season with a 59-37 win. Brycen Neidigh and Owen Gray led the way with 13 points apiece, followed by seven each from Logan Riester and Joah Horrall.
Zach Mann, Tyler Boyd and Alex Boyd netted five points apiece followed by four points from Ashton Ostby.