It was not your typical high school basketball game.
Washington scored 12 points in the first half. Ft. Zumwalt East scored four points in the second half.
When everything was added up, the Blue Jays overcame a 17-point halftime deficit to knock off the Lions in their GAC Central opener Tuesday at Washington High School, 36-33.
“It was definitely a tale of two halves. That’s for sure,” said Washington Head Coach Chip Sodemann. “Not much went right for us in the first half. In the second half, we were much more intense. That was the difference. If we play that way all the time, I think we’ll be OK.”
Ronnie Suggs led the Blue Jays with 14 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Brad Carpenter knocked down three three-pointers to finish with nine points and two assists.
Jacob Mulkey pitched in with six points, going 4-4 from the free-throw line.
Luke Schroepfer collected five points and three steals.
Jared Walde had two points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Luke Hasenjaeger, Cory Epperson and Austin Subke also saw action.
The Blue Jays (4-2, 1-0) shot 31.5 percent from the field and were 8-9 from the foul line.
Struggling against East’s zone defense, the Blue Jays trailed 29-12 at halftime.
“The credit goes to them in the first half. They broke our press and got some layups. They made some shots,” Sodemann said. “We missed our first couple of shots, got tight and started to look at the scoreboard. When you look at the scoreboard instead of focusing on what you need to do, you run into trouble. They were prepared. They attacked us right away. Our guys didn’t respond until the second half.”
And what a second half it was.
Washington outscored East 16-0 in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 29-28.
“Our intensity picked up on the defensive end,” Sodemann said. “We did a good job moving and closing out on plays.”
Carpenter drilled a three-pointer to put the Blue Jays ahead 33-31 with 6:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.
With the score tied 33-33, Carpenter struck again, nailing a three-pointer with 40 seconds left on the clock to give Washington a 36-33 advantage, which was the final score.
The Lions (2-5, 0-1) had possession in the final seconds, but couldn’t tie the game.
“We’ll take them any way we can get them,” Sodemann said. “Hopefully we learned a lesson from this game.”
With conference foes meeting twice per season, the two teams meet again Feb. 1 at East. The Lions will play in the Washington Tournament Jan. 7-12.
Washington’s junior varsity team defeated FZE in triple overtime.
The Blue Jays meet Lafayette in the GAC-Suburban Shootout Saturday at 6 p.m. at St. Charles Family Arena.
Former WHS football coach and athletic director Jim Scanlan will be honored during Tuesday’s home game against Pacific between the junior varsity and varsity games at approximately 7:15 p.m.
“We beat Lafayette last year in this shootout, which I think surprised them a little. They’ll be gunning for us this time,” Sodemann said. “When Washington and Pacific play, you can throw the records out the window. It’s going to be a very competitive game. We’re expecting a great atmosphere.”