By MITZI THOMPSON
NEW WASHINGTON —
New Washington overcame a load of early turnovers, hit some key free throws and held off a sporadically aggressive Charlestown team just long enough for the 55-52 win in James Matthews Gymnasium Tuesday.
The win ends a three-game losing skid for the Mustangs and moves them to 6-12 on the season. The Pirates, who led Tuesday's game on five separate occasions including once with 2:46 remaining, fall to 3-12 with the down-to-the-wire loss.
“I’m pretty pleased with things overall,” said New Washington coach Jonathan May, who went on to praise the composure of junior forward Matthew Wilson late in the game.
With 12 seconds remaining and the Mustangs up by one, Wilson — a reserve forward — stepped to the free throw line for the double bonus and sank both shots to give his team a 54-51 advantage.
“Here’s a guy who, he doesn’t always have things go his way, but he comes to practice and he’s focused and he works his butt off day after day,” May said. “Those were huge shots he made for us. I don’t know how many free throws he’s made this year, but those were the biggest for sure. I’m just very, very happy with him tonight.”
Wilson also grabbed the rebound off the missed 3-point shot by Charlestown’s Jordan Knoebel with two seconds left on the clock to end the game.
Junior James Clemons led the Mustangs in scoring with 23 points on 75 percent field-goal shooting (9 of 12 with three 3-pointers). As a team, New Washington shot 52 percent from the floor and hit 12 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter.
The game saw 10 lead changes and five ties. Charlestown led 46-44 with less than three minutes to go, but the Mustangs went on a 6-0 run highlighted by senior Devin Herron’s 3-pointer with 2:05 to go.
Cardwell answered with a trey of his own just a few seconds later, pulling the Pirates back to within one, but New Washington finished things off at the foul line.
The Pirates, who return to action Friday in a Mid-Southern Conference game at Salem, were led by senior Darren Taylor’s 17 points, three assists and six rebounds. Sophomore Jamal Long added 15 points.
The Mustangs finish out their regular season with a three-game homestand, starting with Southern Athletic Conference foe South Central on Friday.
NEW WASHINGTON 55, CHARLESTOWN 52
Charlestown 16 10 12 14—52
New Washington 12 17 11 15—55
Charlestown (3-12): Darren Taylor 17, Jamal Long 15, Hunter Crace 9, Jordan Knoebel 5, Dewey Cardwell 4, Tristan Chester 2.
New Washington (6-12): James Clemons 23, Devin Herron 12, Logan Miles 12, Zach Moore 3, Jake Zimmerman 3, Matthew Wilson 2.
3-point field goals: Charlestown 2 (Knoebel, Cardwell); New Washington 8 (Clemons 3, Herron 3, Miles 2).
Rebounds: Charlestown 26 (Taylor 6, Crace 6); New Washington 20 (Clemons 4, Herron 4).