The Washington girls basketball team had won four straight games, and was looking for a fifth straight win against conference rival Jasper (7-1, 2-1 Big Eight), but it wasn't in the cards.
The Hatchets (5-3, 1-2 Big Eight) lost, 45-44, Tuesday at the Hachet House to the rival Wildcats.
With 12 seconds remaining with the ball, Jasper guard Emily Jones drove toward the basket looking for the game-winning points, but Washington junior guard Lupe Perez stripped her putting senior Hannah Mason at the free throw line for a one-and-one.
Mason missed the front end, Jones gained possession and was fouled by Washington guard Audra Lane. Jones made both to give the Wildcats a 45-44 lead with 4.8 seconds to play in regulation. After a deflection, Perez found herself just five feet from the basket with a clean look, but her shot rimmed out, and Ally Hunsinger's tip fell short, giving the Wildcats the victory.
"At the end we had the shot we wanted with Lupe (Perez), and Ally
(Hunsinger) trying to tip it in," said Washington coach Gretchen Miles. "It just came down to Jasper made big plays." From the opening tip, the Hatchets appeared to be in complete control thanks to Hunsinger's hot shooting. In the first quarter, Hunsinger made four shots from the field and both her free throw attempts to lead Washington to a 16-13 at the end of one quarter. Hunsinger¹s 12-point first quarter performance indicated she was in for a big night, but the Jasper defense had other ideas.
After the first quarter, Hunsinger managed just four points against a stingy Jasper defense that made Hunsinger the main focus, forcing Washington to find alternates.
"They (Jasper) did a great job of wherever she (Hunsinger) went to have two or three people on her to take that away from us," Miles said. "As far as getting the ball inside, sometimes we weren¹t quick enough and sometimes we weren¹t cutting hard enough." Washington outscored the Wildcats 13-7 to give the Hatchets a 29-20 lead at halftime. However, in the second half Washington came out flat as they struggled to maintain possession, and were outscored 16-5 in the quarter.
Washington won the fourth quarter 10-9, but fell by a point. Perez scored 11 points, and Audra Stallman had 10 points for the Hatchets.
Jasper senior Shelby Merder left the game midway through the third quarter scoring 11 points, and didn¹t return with a injury to her sternum. Miles said that is an instance that you have to take advantage.
"We had our opportunities, and how often does Shelby Merder come out of the basketball game," Miles said. "That's a time where you have to be able to build that lead, and that¹s something we weren¹t able to do."