NEW WASHINGTON — New Washington ran out to an early lead and never looked back en route to a 66-29 victory over visiting Henryville in the Southern Athletic Conference opener for both Friday night.
Sparked by their defense, the Mustangs led 17-3 at the end of the first quarter before increasing their lead to 36-15 by halftime.
“We wanted to come out and make it difficult for their point guard, Riley Nunn. I have a lot of respect for her, she’s a hard-worker, great basketball player. We knew everything they did was going to have to run through her, and our kids stepped up,” New Washington head coach Kirsti Holloway said. “We had a couple (players) that we wanted to make that their only focus and I thought they did their job well. Kaidin James and Macy Fields and I think Emma DeCamp a couple times had that assignment and they followed through with it. I thought it forced them into some difficult shots and kept her from getting some shots. That really set the tone for the rest of game. So, we were really pleased with that.”
The Mustangs added to their lead after intermission, outscoring the Hornets 17-3 in the third quarter and 13-11 in the final frame on the way to their second win in three games. That follows an 0-3 start, which included an 80-41 loss at current Class 3A No. 1 Silver Creek as well as defeats to Scottsburg and Orleans. Entering Friday night, those three teams were a combined 9-0.
“We’ve taken our knocks here early, but it’s not like we’re playing a real gentle, easy schedule to start with,” Holloway said. “I know a lot of people wonder what in the world we’re thinking, but it’s nice to be able to say, ‘Hey, you remember this game? This situation? This opponent?’ I don’t know that you’re going to find too many teams as good as Silver Creek. If you can say, ‘Hey, if you can do A, B or C against a team like that, then there should be no fear of anybody else.’
“So we play teams like that to try to make sure we’re prepared for what comes throughout the season. It’s really a test of our kids’ mental toughness and I think they’ve handled it pretty well. They bounce back quickly from things that don’t quite go our way. It’s good because I don’t think you can play the type of schedule we have if you don’t have people that bounce back quickly.”
Friday night New Wash (2-4, 1-0) rebounded from Tuesday night’s 60-57 loss at Austin.
“I told the girls after the game I felt completely responsible for that,” Holloway said. “I think we had a 12- to 16-point lead in that game, but we didn’t get defensive stops when we needed to, we had some miscommunications on what defense we were in and Austin’s got seniors who stepped up.”
The Mustangs, meanwhile, have only one senior (Adrian Miles) on their roster and she’s currently sidelined by an injury.
Friday night, junior guard Grace Ellison scored a game-high 16 points on the strength of four 3-pointers while sophomore guard Sami Canter added 14 thanks to three 3’s. James, a freshman guard, tallied 13 points while Fields, a sophomore, added nine in addition to their defensive efforts on Nunn.
Nunn netted eight points to pace Henryville while freshman Hillary White scored seven off the bench. It’s a quick turnaround for the Hornets (0-3, 0-1), who take on Tri at 5 p.m. today at Hoosier Gym in Knightstown.
Meanwhile the Mustangs, whose game against Charlestown that was scheduled for Tuesday night has been postponed, are off until they host Milan next Saturday.
NEW WASHINGTON 66, HENRYVILLE 29
Henryville 3 12 3 11 — 29
New Washington 17 19 17 13 — 66
Henryville (0-3, 0-1): Avery King 2, Anna Knecht 4, Riley Nunn 8, Esmeralda Ruiz 1, Kaitlyn D’Angelo 4, Alexis Marion 3, Hillary White 7.
New Washington (2-4, 1-0): Macy Fields 9, Kaidin James 13, Grace Ellison 16, Emma DeCamp 5, Haylie Spear 5, Sami Canter 14, Olivia Lawrence 2, Megan Snelling 2.
3-point field goals: Henryville 2 (Marion, White); New Washington 9 (Ellison 4, Canter 3, DeCamp, Spear).