The Washington Lady Blue Lions began the 2020 portion of their schedule with a home game against the always-tough Unioto Sherman Tanks Saturday afternoon.
Washington trailed by as many as 15 points early in the third quarter.
They fought hard and did not give up, rallying to pull within two points with 15 seconds to play in the game.
Washington had the ball with five seconds left, but turned it over.
Unioto turned the ball right back over, allowing Washington to get a shot off, but it was no good, setting the final at 53-51 in favor of the visitors.
Washington senior Shawna Conger led the game with 23 points. She hit three three-point field goals. She also had six steals.
Freshman Natalie Woods had a career-high 15 points, including two three-point baskets. She also had six rebounds.
Senior Halli Wall had one three and scored a total of seven points.
Unioto had three players reach double figures, led by senior Cree Stulley with 14 points.
Senior Amber Cottrill scored 12 and senior Emily Coleman added 11 points.
“We knew today was going to be a dog-fight,” Washington head coach Samantha Leach said. “I was really impressed with the effort and hustle our girls had, especially at the end. We did a lot of good things on the defensive end, especially our younger kids. They really forced the tempo and we were able to convert off some of those turnovers.
“Unfortunately, it just didn’t fall our way at the end,” Leach said. “I think we had a few mental breakdowns there at the end. It was just a great learning experience for situations like this to come.
“One thing that hurt us was our transition defense,” Leach said. “Unioto did a great job of keeping someone back and just releasing. They got a lot of points in transition, especially in the first half. We made some adjustments at halftime and did a much better job of that in the third and fourth quarters.”
Conger scored the first basket of the game.
Unioto soon had an 8-2 lead.
Unioto led 18-12 at the end of the first quarter.
The Shermans had a shooting percentage of 51 (20 of 39), while Washington made 17 of 48 for 35 percent.
Both teams made six threes and Washington outscored Unioto by four points at the free throw line.
However, Unioto made three more two-point baskets than did Washington.
There were at least two occasions when Unioto missed a shot, then got an offensive rebound and hit a three-point shot on their next attempt.
The Lady Lions got within three points with just over one minute remaining in the first half.
At the buzzer, Unioto led 31-24.
Washington trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter.
When the period came to an end, Unioto held a 46-36 lead.
Washington saved its best play for the end, outscoring Unioto 15-7 in the fourth quarter.
Washington trailed by four points with under one minute to play. The Lady Lions got two offensive rebounds, but missed three shot attempts on one particular possession.
Unioto missed the front end of three one and one attempts in the final moments.
Woods scored with 15 seconds to play to make it 53-51.
After a time out, Washington fouled and Unioto missed the front end of the one and bonus with 7.3 seconds to play.
Washington took a time out with 5.1 seconds remaining.
There followed the back-to-back turnovers allowing Washington one final shot attempt, which was no good.
Washington (7-4 overall) is at Sheridan Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
Unioto improves to 9-2 overall.
“We have quite a bit of experience,” Unioto head coach Jeff Miller said. “But, we’ve had issues here in the last week or two, losing big leads and getting ourselves into tight situations late in the fourth quarter.
“I’m still trying figure out when to (loosen) the reigns and when to tighten it up,” Miller said. “We’re up 13, let’s run some clock and (have) a good possession. So, we run a little bit of clock and then we turn it over. Or a kid takes a quick bad shot. So, we’re getting caught in between, like, do you keep playing the tempo that you’ve been playing at, or do you slow it up and try to grind a little clock. We just have to continue to work on that. Obviously, it’s a situation that we’ve been exposed here several times lately, where we’ve had nice leads and then kind of got ourselves back into a tight one at the end.”
Unioto takes on Southeastern in a battle of the top teams in the Scioto Valley Conference Tuesday at Southeastern High School. Both teams are currently 5-0 in their conference.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 12 12 12 15 — 51
U 18 13 15 7 — 53
WASHINGTON — Aaralyne Estep 0-0-0; Kaelin Pfeifer 0-2-2; Kendall Dye 0-2-2; Jeleeya Tyree-Smith 1-0-2; Abby Tackage 0-0-0; Natalie Woods 4 (2)-1-15; Halli Wall 1 (1)-2-7; Shawna Conger 5 (3)-4-23; Megan Sever 0-0-0. TOTALS —11 (6)-11-51. Free throw shooting: 11 of 14 for 79 percent. Three-point field goals: Conger, 3; Woods, 2; Wall. Field goal shooting: 17 of 48 for 35 percent. Turnovers: 18.
UNIOTO — Paris Debord 1-2-4; Hallie Pinkerton 2-0-4; Karlee Renner 0-0-0; Emily Coleman 3 (1)-2-11; Jerzi Paul 1-0-2; Amber Cottrill 1 (3)-1-12; Avery Miller 2-2-6; Cree Stulley 4 (2)-0-14; Alexis Miller 0-0-0. TOTALS — 14 (6)-7-53. Free throw shooting: 7 of 10 for 70 percent. Three-point field goals: Cottrill, 3; Stulley, 2; Coleman. Field goal shooting: 20 of 39 for 51 percent. Turnovers: 15.