Washington closed Thanksgiving week out on a strong note with a 57-43 win over White River Valley at the Hatchet House on Friday.
Washington (1-1) started slow, falling behind early to White Rive Valley (1-1) by six points at 12-6 midway through the first quarter. But the Hatchets surged to the end of the quarter, outscoring WRV 9-0 to take a 15-12 lead after eight minutes. That margin extended to 14 points at 33-19 by halftime.
Washington used its defense to spur its offense in the second quarter. WRV turned the ball over eight times in the quarter alone, including miscues on its first five possessions of the stanza.
“It was a good team win tonight,” said Washington coach Gene Miiller, who notched career win No. 698 with the victory. “We didn’t get off to a very good start. But things changed toward the end of the first quarter.
“I thought our defensive intensity picked up. We made some substitutions. I thought Kiowa Jones brought in some really good energy throughout the ballgame and played well. He got after it defensively,” said Miiller. “I thought Austin Gere came in and played really well off the bench and kind of changed the momentum for us.”
The Wolverines outscored the Hatchets 11-9 in the third quarter to reduce the WHS lead to 42-30. But Washington was a perfect 7-7 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to stave off any WRV comeback hopes.
Grant Niehaus led a quartet of Hatchets in double figures with 16 points, followed by Jones with 13. Kyle Mann added 11, followed by 10 from Lance Roach. Zach Gray added five points and Gere two points for WHS.
Washington was solid on the defensive end of the floor — the Hatchets forced 20 WRV turnovers and limited WRV to 35 percent (17-48 shooting). But though the Hatchets far exceeded the 36 points scored in Wednesday’s season opener, Washington still committed 15 turnovers and shot 44 percent (17-39) from the field.
“Defensively I thought we did a pretty good job,” said Miiller. “Offensively we’re still struggling at times to put the ball in the basket.”
Tanner Denham topped the Wolverines with 18 points, followed by 15 from Eli Crites.
In the JV contest Washington cruised to an 82-38 to improve to 2-0. Alex Boyd led the way with 19 points, followed 11 each from Brycen Neidigh and Joah Horrall. Ashton Ostby and Nicholas Sandullo were next with 10 points each. Zach Mann and Owen Gray netted eight points, while Tyler Boyd rounded out the scoring with five points.
Washington returns to action on Friday when the Hatchets travel to Southridge.