The Wash High Lady Prexies found out Monday night how important free throw shooting is in basketball.
A second-half parade to the line helped the Prexies hold on for a 55-51 victory over Peters Township in Wash High’s home opener.
“It was a nice win, but we have got to learn to take better care of the basketball,” said Wash High head coach Mike Maltony. “We made a lot of dumb, cross-court passes, and it almost cost us. You will get a lot of that this early in the season. We have to develop some cohesion together.”
The Lady Prexies took a 23-20 lead by halftime, then came out strong in the second half, using a 9-1 run to open up a double-digit lead. But, Wash High got sloppy with the basketball and saw that lead cut to 43-41 early in the fourth quarter.
Wash High went more than six minutes without scoring during that stretch but was able to hang on, thanks to some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch.
The game featured very little offense, especially in the second half as the two teams combined to shoot 76 free throws on the night.
India March, who went to the line 22 times, knocked down eight of her 13 free throws in the fourth quarter to help Wash High hang on for the win.
“She was exceptional,” said Maltony. “She played a very good game at both ends of the floor and stepped to the line and knocked down some clutch shots when we needed them.”
The Indians, whose roster consists entirely of freshman and sophomores, used a trapping pressure defense to nearly steal a win. But they had problems scoring, too.
“We struggled against their zone,” said Peters Township head coach Bert Kendall. “We are a young team, and that’s the first time we have seen the zone, and we had some trouble adjusting to it. We tried to make some things happen with our defense, but we shot a very low percentage. It’s tough to win that way. But it’s a learning experience. We just have to learn from it and get better.”
Madison Kerr nearly brought Peters Township back by herself, scoring a game-high 25 points, but the Indians had trouble finding much offense from other spots.
The Wash High victory might have come at a steep price though as forward Mya Gordon went down in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury. Gordon was the only other player in the game in double-figures, leaving with 11 points.
“It’s her knee,” said Maltony. “Right now, we don’t know. She went to the hospital, and we hope for the best. We don’t have a lot of depth to begin with, so we will have to wait and see what happens.”
Wash High is back in action Thursday when they travel to Bentworth, while Peters Township plays their first home game of the season Thursday against Moon.