Demons defeated by Keokuk
The Washington High School varsity girls’ basketball team hasn’t lost its chance to repeat as Southeast Iowa Conference champions but losing last night’s game at home to the Keokuk Chiefs 47 – 45 has made accomplishing that task much more difficult.
“Our tournament play begins now. Essentially we have to win all the rest of the games on our schedule to have a chance to defend our conference title. We still control our own destiny to at least share the championship, though,” Demon head coach Phil Long said.
The loss drops Washington to 10 – 6 overall but more importantly 2 – 2 in conference games. Of the five games remaining on the Demons’ schedule, four of them are in conference. The Chiefs currently lead the conference at 5 – 1 with Mt. Pleasant a half-game back at 5 – 2. Washington sits in third place. Mt. Pleasant is a full game back of Washington at 2 - 4 and Fort Madison is currently 0 - 5 in SEIC games.
Keokuk came out last night looking like the aggressor and dominated much of the game.
“They’ve played four games in the time since we played our last game and it showed tonight. They were at game speed and it took us a while to get there. Both teams are best when they are being the aggressor,” Long commented.
The Chiefs were able to expand a 14 – 9 lead at the end of the first quarter to a 28 – 19 lead going into halftime. In the third quarter the Demon defense tightened up, limiting Keokuk to just eight points but Washington was unable to capitalize, scoring only eight points themselves as well in the third quarter. The fourth quarter began with the Chiefs holding a 36 – 27 lead.
It was in the fourth quarter that the Demons got into a rhythm, led by senior Dema Giardino. Giardino capped a Washington comeback by hitting a jumper from the top of the key with under a minute remaining to tie the game at 45. The ball changed possession several times in the ensuing seconds before Keokuk was able to advance it and get a bucket of its own to re-take the lead with just 2.4 seconds showing on the clock. The Demons were unable to get a desperate heave off before the buzzer hit and the Chiefs survived Washington’s rally.
“We got their best game tonight. I don’t know if they can play any better against us, but we can play a lot better against them. We gave up 47 and that’s what I would expect to give up to a team like that. I don’t think they can hold us under 50 twice,” Long added.
As a team Washington shot 40 percent (19/48) from the field, 3/15 from 3-point range and 4/6 from the free-throw line. The Demons outrebounded Keokuk 30 - 22. Washington also totaled seven assists and seven steals.
Giardino led the Demons with 14 points. Senior Addisen Shive had eight rebounds to lead Washington. Senior Stephanie Fishback led the Demons in assists and steals with three of each.
Washington plays at Fort Madison on Friday, Feb. 7 to begin its gauntlet of crucial conference games.