Demons crash boards, erase deficit late in home game
Thirty-two minutes of game time was all the Washington High School boys’ basketball team needed to dig themselves into a hole and then claw their way back out of it.
The Demons trailed the Mid-Prairie Golden Hawks in a home non-conference bout on Tuesday, Jan. 14 for most of the game, not taking the lead that would be the final measure needed to secure victory until 2:21 was left in the fourth quarter. At halftime Washington was on the short side of a 15-point difference.
“Offensively it was a great first half for us. We made some good adjustments to what they [Washington] did,” Mid-Prairie head coach Chris Kern explained.
The game began with the teams exchanging buckets and Mid-Prairie started to apply an effective full-court press. The Golden Hawks were able to force some Demon turnovers and used their transition game to build a good offensive rhythm toward the end of the first half.
“We were trying to attack the press, make them pay for the full court pressure and we didn’t do a very good job of getting organized, our shot selection was poor and they [Mid-Prairie] did a very good job of playing defense,” Washington head coach Bryce Smeins explained.
Despite the Washington turnovers and Mid-Prairie’s flow in the offensive end, there was one key facet of the game that the Demons dominated throughout the contest - rebounding. By the time the final buzzer went off, Washington held a staggering 43-14 edge on the glass, only allowing the Golden Hawks to get a single rebound in the entire second half.
“The rebounding says it all. If we can’t rebound, there aren’t a lot of things we can do, that’s glaring” Kern added, “All night to Washington’s credit they out-hustled us.”
That hustle, combined with scrappy defensive play and a seemingly sudden inability to miss from behind the 3-point line all fueled a fourth-quarter comeback that transformed what had been a calm Washington High School gymnasium into a raucous atmosphere. Washington outscored Mid-Prairie 27-11 in the fourth quarter to earn the 62-58 win.
“We got hot in the fourth quarter, we only played five guys and they sucked it up and stayed fresh and got after it,” Smeins added.
Junior guard Thomas Bump led the Demons in scoring on the night, dropping 21 points that included a couple of 3-pointers that were huge in the fourth-quarter comeback. Senior forward Elijah Wood and junior guard Daryn Sebelius both scored in double figures, with 13 and 11 points respectively. Senior forward Walker Breard and junior guard Gage Redlinger each contributed six points. Senior forward Brett Wright added five points to complete Washington’s scoring.
Bump and Sebelius tied for the team lead in rebounds with eight. Redlinger led the team in assists with six and Bump followed closely behind with five assists.
“The first half was awful but we came out in the second half and played with great focus, desire and energy. The trick is to find a way to play 32 minutes of that kind of basketball,” Smeins commented.
The win snaps Washington’s two-game losing streak and improves their record to 3-6 on the season. The Demons will be in action again at home on Tuesday, Jan. 21 against Davis County.