The Washington Blue Lions (18-4) hosted Hillsboro (6-17) on Wednesday evening in a Sectional semifinal game in the Division II Southeast District.
Washington came into the game with two previous victories over Hillsboro, including a 58-53 victory on Dec. 13 and 77-53 victory on Jan. 27.
The Blue Lions found themselves down early in the contest, before a three-pointer from Garrett Rickman knotted the game at seven. Washington would struggle to score over the next several minutes due to several untimely turnovers and trailed 11-7 at the end of one.
Washington would trail for most of the second quarter, until Isaiah Haithcock converted a three-point play to give the Blue Lions a 19-17 lead. The Blue Lions were able to extend the lead, outscoring Hillsboro 18-9 throughout the period to take a 25-20 lead into intermission.
At the half, John Wall led the Blue Lions with nine points, all coming in the second quarter. Bryce Parsons of Hillsboro had 12 points at the half.
Hillsboro would tie the game at 28 midway through the third quarter, but Washington quickly regained the lead on a three-pointer from Wall. The Blue Lions led by as many as seven points in the third quarter, but Hillsboro was able to narrow the lead on a three-point shot at the buzzer from Parsons, making the score 39-35 heading into the final period.
Washington led by as many as eight points in the final period, their largest lead of the game. Hillsboro got as close as a three-point deficit but was never able to fully close the gap as the final score saw the Blue Lions prevail, 60-54.
Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff gave some comments following the victory.
“I thought we played well at times. We got some good shots against their zone. We didn’t finish at the rim at times. When we were able to get out in transition, we made good decisions. The turnovers at times were sloppy and our defense at times was sloppy. John and Garrett were great tonight, offensively. I thought Tanner made some key passes against their zone and had some big rebounds and blocks. Isaiah made some big plays in transition and had some good rebounds. It’s difficult to beat a team three times, I don’t care what their record is. We’re happy to get the win regardless of what it looked like, and we now have an opportunity to play for a Sectional championship at home on Saturday.”
Statistically for Washington, Wall led the Blue Lions with 22 points, followed by Rickman with 18, Tanner Lemaster with 12, Isaiah Haithcock with five, and Brayden May with three.
Statistically for Hillsboro, Parsons led the Indians with 21 points, followed by Tate Davis with 12, Steven Kibler with six, Nic Burns with four, Brayden Hunter, Dorian Stewart, and Deegan Bloomfield with three, and Brogan Priest with two.
Washington (19-4) plays again on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at home against No. 8 seed Warren (17-6). Warren defeated No. 9 seed Vinton County on Wednesday by a score of 58-36.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 7 18 14 21 — 60
H 11 9 15 19 — 54
WASHINGTON — Garrett Rickman 3 (2)-6-18; John Wall 5 (3)-3-22; Brayden May 0 (1)-0-3; Raleigh Haithcock 0-0-0; Gabe Tayese 0-0-0; Tanner Lemaster 5-2-12; Isaiah Haithcock 2-1-5. TOTALS — 15 (6)-12-60. Free throw shooting: 12 of 17 for 71 percent. Three-point field goals: Wall 3, Rickman 2, May. Field goal shooting: 21 of 49 for 43 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 6 of 20 for 30 percent. Turnovers: 14 Rebounds: 22 (6 offensive). Assists: 10. Steals: 6. Blocked shots: 4.
HILLSBORO — Nic Burns 2-0-4; Brogan Priest 1-0-2; Tate Davis 3-6-12; Brayden Hunter 0 (1)-0-3; Steven Kibler 3-0-6; Garet Thompson 0-0-0; Dorian Stewart 1-1-3; Bryce Parsons 7 (1)-4-21; Deegan Bloomfield 1-1-3. TOTALS — 18 (2)-12-54. Free throw shooting: 12 of 14 for 86 percent. Three-point field goals: Hunter, Parsons. Turnovers: 12.