Demons hold off RaidersWilliamsburg rallies late, but Vittetoe's free throw clinches win
With her team struggling to ice Thursday’s game — going 3-for-11 from the free-throw line in the game’s final two minutes — Washington senior Johannah Vittetoe stood at the foul line to take the second of her two free throws with 11.9 seconds left.
She had missed the first of the two shots, but she spun the ball, took a deep breath and rattled in the second free throw to give her Demons a four-point lead. Williamsburg didn’t score in the closing seconds, and No. 12 Washington held on to defeat the visiting Raiders 39-35.
“Usually before I shoot a free throw, I picture it going in,” said Vittetoe, who led the Demons with 11 points. “I didn’t do that the other two times, but I did it on that last one and that’s why I knocked it in. I knew I had to do that, because if I didn’t I knew we’d be in trouble.”
The Demons (3-1) were in trouble, as they had watched their lead shrink from 12 to just three in the final five minutes. Washington tried to hold the ball and run some clock in the closing minutes, but ended up turning the ball over eight times in the final quarter. And when the Raiders started fouling, the Demons struggled at the free-throw line. But Vittetoe finally sank one late to seal Washington’s win.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win,” said Washington head coach Phil Long, whose team was coming off a 30-22 loss at Mid-Prairie on Tuesday. “It’s a quality win for us.”
It was the first time Long had beaten the Raiders in seven tries. The Demons lost 59-46 at Williamsburg last season.
“It’s a bucket list win for me,” Long said. “I went in and told them afterwards that I had never beaten Williamsburg in my career. I thanked the kids afterwards that I could check that one off my bucket list.”
Williamsburg (2-1) jumped out to a 5-0 lead as Washington failed to score in the game’s first 4½ minutes. But then the Demons scored 16 unanswered points to take control of the game.
“That’s just kind of our team,” Long said. “We get these little mini-runs going, and it happens in a hurry. You can look up and we haven’t scored for two or three minutes, and then all of a sudden we put eight up there real fast. I call it a feeding frenzy. We’re just like piranhas in the water.”
Washington’s frenzy was fed by 10 first-quarter Williamsburg turnovers.
“We threw it all over the place,” Williamsburg head coach Aaron Feddersen said. “We just didn’t value the basketball, and [Washington is] really active and they get into the passing lanes. Teams that are really aggressive defensively make you pay for it.”
Washington had 22 steals in the game. Junior Stephanie Fishback had a team-high five thefts to go with nine points. Senior Beth Dillon and junior Grace Redlinger both had four steals.
The Demons still led by 11 late in the second quarter, but the Raiders scored the final six points of the half to trim Washington’s lead to five at the break.
Washington scored the first six points of the second half to push its lead back to double digits, and the Demons held their biggest lead of the game — 12 points — before the Raiders rallied in the game’s final five minutes.
“[Washington] competed,” Feddersen said. “We did the last three or four minutes, but we didn’t compete really hard for most of the game.”
Still, thanks to Washington’s poor free-throw shooting in the game’s final two minutes, the Raiders nearly rallied back to win.
“We just couldn’t deliver the finishing blow, especially at the free-throw line, where we were 12-for-23 [for the game],” Long said.