By Mike Myers
The Washington Hatchets couldn’t overcome a slow start in falling to a strong Southridge team at the Hatchet House 47-37 on Tuesday.
For Washington (7-11), it was some of the same issues the Hatchets have faced all season. Though WHS committed just 12 turnovers, half of that total came early in the fourth quarter, when the Hatchets were trying to cut into a 31-29 Southridge (14-3) lead after three quarters.
In addition, the Hatchets were under 50 percent from the field (13-27) and were out rebounded 22-12 by the Radiers. Washington coach Gene Miiller termed the game a “struggle” for his team all night long.
“It was just a struggle, it was a struggle offensively. We would get in the game, then we would turn the ball over a couple of times and they would get back in the lead,” said Miiller. “It was just a struggle all night. We just couldn’t consistently get anything going offensively. They mixed up defenses, but we had talked about that in practice, had gone over that. It was just a struggle to score.”
Washington started slowly as the Hatchets didn’t score their first points of the contest until late in the opening quarter when a Jake Bedwell bucket broke the ice for WHS with 1:49 on the clock. Fortunately, Southridge (14-3) had only built an 8-0 lead in that span, and the Raiders would go on to lead 8-7 after eight minutes of action, then extend that margin to six at 23-17 by halftime.
Washington held Southridge to 8-23 shooting in the first half, but the Raiders picked up many of their points off their nine offensive rebounds. For the game, Southridge picked up as many offensive rebounds (12) the Hatchets did rebounds overall.
Cullen Arnold scored six of his game high 17 points in the opening half for WHS, while Colton Garland added a pair of 3-pointers for six points as well.
Washington used a 10-2 run late in the third quarter to get within two points at 31-29 heading into the final eight minutes of action. But Southridge opened up the final quarter with an 8-2 run to regain some breathing room.
Colton Garland finished with nine points for WHS, followed by four from Bedwell. Jake Brashear added a 3-pointer for three points, while Andy Garland and Tyler Stoll each contributed two points. Bedwell, Arnold, and Colten Garland each handed out three assists for the Hatchets.
Cody Moesner scored the game’s first eight points and finished with 13 points for Southridge, as did teammate Ben Weber.
Washington travels to Mt. Carmel on Friday and then hosts Evansville Memorial next Friday in their final pair of contests before sectional play starts. Miiller is still looking for improvement as the post season looms close nearby on the horizon.
“We just have to continue to work on the things … ball handling, handling pressure, handling traps. It’s something we do everyday, and hopefully it will kick in in these next two weeks,” said Miiller. “Two weeks from tonight, we could be playing our first game in the sectional. So we have to use these next two ballgames that we have and those two weeks of practice to get better at both ends.”
Washington claimed the reserve contest 42-34. Austin Ghirardelli topped the Hatchets with 16 points, followed by 11 from Carson Smith.