The Washington Demon girls’ basketball team took their first conference loss of the season Friday night to Mt. Pleasant 61-51.
The Demons started in a hole, trailing the Panthers by seven early in the first quarter and finished the first quarter down five.
In the second quarter the Demons came to life both defensively and offensively. Washington roared back with a full court press that the Panthers struggled to break and found some good offense from both Grace Redlinger and Dema Giardino. The Demons came back to take the lead after the first half of play 26-23, holding Mt. Pleasant to just seven points in the second quarter.
The teams were fairly even in the third quarter, but the Demons started to lose their shot. Washington got multiple second chance opportunities and break away layup attempts that they missed, resulting in their lead dwindling to just one point after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter Washington found themselves in foul trouble and the Panthers fed off of it. With the Panthers in the bonus The Demons fouled 90 feet away from the basket three times in a row, giving the Panthers an easy walk to the basket to shoot free throws, and while Mt. Pleasant hit theirs, Washington struggled. The Demons went 7-15 in the second half and 11-21 in the game, but despite the poor shooting the Demons were still in it down three with about a minute remaining. Washington could not land a shot though and once again fouled sending the Panthers to the line. The Demons tried to come back in a three possession game late, but it was not to be and the Demons fell 61-51
Head coach Phil Long said it was a tough loss, but everything the Demons struggled with against the Panthers Is fixable.
“The scary [thing] is when you lose by 10 and you’ve got stuff and you can’t fix it. You can fix breakaway lay-ups and make them, you can fix stepping to the free throw line and making free throws, we make four or five of the breakaway layups we missed, and there is 10 points. Plus the momentum it gives you, it allows us to press on the break and it deflates their desire to be in the game. We had an opportunity at one point in the game when we had them down two and could have had them down eight on three straight possessions on breakaway layups, and we clanked all three of them, “ Long said. “But that’s fixable, that’s easy for a kid to do and come in and work on. Some of this stuff they have to come in and work on it on their own; practice at game speed, warm up at game speed, so breakaway layups feel like something you’ve done all of your life.”
Washington was led by Redlinger with 19 points and Giardino with 14.
Washington is now off for a week and a day until they play Oskaloosa next Saturday.
The Washington boys fell in Mt. Pleasant 60-48. The boys are in action on Tuesday against Mid-Prairie.