Make it two straight seasons as GAC Central girls basketball champions for the Washington Lady Jays.
Playing Tuesday at Ft. Zumwalt South, the Lady Jays claimed the league crown with a 47-43 victory.
“We’ve sealed up the conference championship, but we have two games left and I like the sound of 8-0 better than 6-2 or 7-1. We’re going to strive for that perfect record,” said Washington Head Coach Adam Fischer. “South is well-coached and has some good players. We talked for two weeks about how we need to be ready for this game. Our one conference loss last year was at South. It’s not an easy place to play.”
For the first time this season, Washington was seriously tested by a conference foe.
The Lady Jays (18-4, 6-0) led 34-33 after three quarters. They never surrendered the lead in the final eight minutes, but never pulled away, either.
“They did an excellent job getting us to play their game,” Fischer said. “It’s good to be tested. It should help us down the road. We needed something like this.”
Courtney Kedroski paced Washington with 19 points and three rebounds.
Kyra Hardesty finished with 17 points and three rebounds. She sealed the win with two free throws with 15 seconds left.
“Kyra and Courtney did an excellent job on the offensive end of the floor,” Fischer said. “They both were able to attack the basket when South guarded them tight, and they hit a few threes when we needed them.”
Paige Carpenter added six points and three rebounds.
Rachel Kackley collected three points, 15 rebounds and two blocks.
Megan Freitag had two points. Megan Bauche added seven rebounds and two assists.
“Rachel did a great job controlling the inside. Paige did a lot of little things you don’t see in the main stat columns,” Fischer said. “Paige had a huge offensive rebound in the fourth quarter that she scored on, and she hit two free throws that helped seal the victory.”
Ft. Zumwalt South (13-9, 5-2) was led by Abby Modaff, who scored 11 points. Maddie German and Danielle McLean both scored nine points.
“They keyed on Kyra hard defensively. They had German on her, who’s one of the quickest kids we play all year,” Fischer said. “Megan Bauche set one heck of a screen for Courtney a couple of times. We got her open and she knocked down a couple of big shots.”
After starting the season with a 3-2 record, Washington now has won 15 of its last 17 games heading into Friday’s contest against Holt.
Three of the Lady Jays’ four losses have been in tournaments. The only non-tournament game they’ve lost came at Hermann (20-1), a Class 3 and Four Rivers Conference power.
“It’s been a while since the Washington girls basketball program has won 18 games. When I took over last year, we just talked about getting better every day,” Fischer said. “We have girls like our four seniors, Courtney, Megan (Bauche), Rachel and Alex (Ready), and throw in Paige and Megan Freitag, they’ve all gotten better and it’s starting to show. Hopefully our younger kids pick up on that and we have a few more good years.”
After playing Friday against Holt, the Lady Jays have home games next week against Ft. Zumwalt East on Tuesday and Pacific on Thursday to end the regular season.
“We have some tough games coming up against Holt and Pacific and then all of our district games,” Fischer said. “Playing this kind of game against South should help us down the road.”