The Washington Blue Lion boys basketball team hosted Frontier Athletic Conference-leading Chillicothe Friday night.
The Blue Lions gave perhaps their best effort of the season and were nearly rewarded for it.
At the end, Washington could not buy a basket when they needed it the most, missing seven shot attempts in the final 1:30 of the game.
Those late shots, including several stick-back attempts right at the basket, simply would not fall as the Cavaliers escaped with a 53-51 victory, improving to 6-0 in the FAC.
Washington is 2-7 overall, 1-5 in the FAC.
Junior Dillon Steward was the game’s leading scorer for Washington with 22 points, several of those coming off steals.
Sophomore Trevor Rarick was also in double figures with 11 points.
Sophomores Jayvon Maughmer and Brandon Noel led the Cavaliers, each with 14 points.
Senior Branden Maughmer had 10 for the Cavs.
It was a slow start for both teams as Chillicothe led 9-5 at the end of the first quarter.
At the half, Chillicothe was in front, 26-18.
Washington got some of that back by outscoring Chillicothe, 18-14 in the third quarter to trail, 40-36.
With a steal and lay-up from Steward, Washington trailed, 53-51 with 1:30 to play in the game.
Washington had another steal and had three shots to tie the game, but all missed the mark.
There was a time out called with 27.5 seconds remaining.
Chillicothe had a turnover and Washington had two more shots to tie. Those would not fall.
The Blue Lions had to foul to stop the clock with 11.2 seconds to go.
Chillicothe went to the line for the one-and-one and missed the front end, giving the Blue Lions one more chance.
Washington, however, missed two shots on this final possession just before the buzzer sounded.
“Chillicothe is a Division I team and they play a lot of other good Division I schools,” Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff said. “I’m just proud of our guys’ effort.
“We had a bunch of really good looks there at the end,” Bartruff said. “I told our guys in the locker room after the game, ‘we have to grow from this.’ It’s got to be a building block. We can’t be upset that we were right there and didn’t end up pulling it out.
“We have to grow from this and get better from it,” Bartruff said. “I felt like this was our best game, as far as pure competitiveness, for the majority of the game. I can’t say all 32 minutes, because we still had spots. At the end of the second quarter, we had three straight possessions where we got lost in our zone and we gave them a lay-up and a three and that’s five points right there in a one possession game.
“We had three or four turnovers midway through the fourth quarter when it was a one or two possession game,” Bartruff said. “If they score on two of those possessions, we’re giving them four points. We don’t have the luxury of doing that.
“I thought Trevor was great, I thought Evan (Upthegrove) was great, I thought Dillon was great, I thought Miguel (O’Flaherty) was great and I thought Blaise (Tayese) was great,” Bartruff said. “Garitt (Leisure) gave us some good spot minutes. I felt like Ross (Matthews Jr.) came in and made a couple of plays. He’s battling back from an ankle injury. I felt like everybody that played contributed.
“This is the first game we’ve played in a week and a half,” Bartruff said. “For us to come out and play with that intensity, I’m proud of my guys. We’re a young team. At times we had four sophomores on the floor. Other times we had three sophomores and two juniors; the rest of the time it was three juniors and two sophomores out there. Our guys just have to continue to grow up.
“We turn around and go to Gallia Academy Saturday,” Bartruff said. “They have a really nice team. They play hard, they’re extremely physical and they have a seven-foot sophomore that’s really good.”
“We haven’t played since Dec. 30,” Chillicothe head coach Eric Huffer said. “That’s 20 days.
“I give a lot of credit to Court House,” Huffer said. “They are much better than what their record is. They’ve played Logan and Lancaster and us twice. That’s four Division I games they’ve played. They’ve lost by two or three points in three or four games. They are well-coached. I have nothing but respect for them. We knew coming in here that we had to survive, we had to get through this game.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Huffer said. “Hats off to (Washington). To think they have everyone coming back next year; wow.”
Chillicothe is at Wilmington Saturday with the j-v game starting with the freshman game at 4:30 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 5 13 18 15 — 51
C 9 17 14 13 — 53
WASHINGTON — Eli Lynch 0-0-0; Dillon Seward 11-0-22; Evan Upthegrove 3-1-7; Ross Matthews Jr. 1 (1)-0-5; Miguel O’Flaherty 1-0-2; Garitt Leisure 0-0-0; Blaise Tayese 1-2-4; Trevor Rarick 4 (1)-0-11. TOTALS — 21 (2)-3-51. Free throw shooting: 3 of 7 for 43 percent. Three-point field goals: Matthews Jr., Rarick.
CHILLICOTHE — Branden Maughmer 4-2-10; Jalen Jordan 1 (1)-0-5; Will Roderick 3-0-6; Jayvon Maughmer 4 (2)-0-14; Simon Roderick 1-1-3; Jason Benson 0-1-1; Chris Postage 0-0-0; Brandon Noel 6-2-14. TOTALS — 19 (3)-6-53. Free throw shooting: 6 of 11 for 55 percent. Three-point field goals: J. Maughmer, 2; Jordan.