Demons fall to Tigers
A typical defensive strategy in basketball is to get your opponent to attempt low-percentage shots. Conventional wisdom says the farther away from the basket the shot attempt is, the lower the likelihood that it will count is. When faced with an opponent that excels in hitting long-distance shots, defense becomes more of a challenge. That was the challenge the Washington boys’ varsity basketball team faced at home on Friday, Feb. 21 in their final regular season game against the Grinnell Tigers. Despite the Demon best efforts, Grinnell prevailed 64 – 49.
“They were ranked No. 2 in the state preseason for a reason. In the first half it looked like they were a top-five team,” Washington head coach Bryce Smeins said.
Grinnell started early on its 3-point shooting grabbing a 18 – 10 lead in the first quarter. Washington’s offense improved in the second quarter as the ball movement against the Tigers’ half-court defense improved immensely, giving the Demons many good looks at the basket. Grinnell’s 3-point shooting remained consistent, though, and the Tigers had a 40 – 23 lead going into halftime.
“In the second quarter I thought we got some really good looks, we just didn’t make enough of them,” Smeins added.
Washington’s defensive effort on the perimeter improved in the third quarter but Grinnell had an answer of using their interior players to keep the Demons at bay and took a 52 – 35 lead into the final eight minutes of play. In the fourth quarter the Tigers continued to play just well enough to avoid letting Washington back in the game.
“Our kids fought really hard. That size wears on you but I thought we played much better in the second half than in the first,” Smeins commented.
The Demons finish the regular season at 6 – 15 and will open up their district tournament play on Monday, Feb. 24 at Pella.
“Pella is a completely different team than we saw tonight. They play 10 or 11 guys. They try to trap you with their press, try to force chaos and push the pace of the game. We have to make sure we stay disciplined with the basketball and get a good look every trip down,” Smeins explained.