Washington completed its first boys basketball season in the Gateway Athletic Conference Central Division with a victory last Friday at Holt.
After a slow start, the Blue Jays controlled the second half in a 50-41 victory.
Washington (16-9, 4-4) trailed 5-4 after one quarter and 22-18 at halftime, but outscored the Indians 32-19 in the second half.
“We did not have a strong first half. Ronnie (Suggs) and Luke (Schroepfer) both didn’t score in the first half,” said Washington Head Coach Chip Sodemann. “We didn’t have the focus or the toughness it takes to win on the road. Coach (Josh) Hall and I got that message across to the guys at halftime. We picked it up in the second half and held them to 19 points.”
Luke Schroepfer led the second-half surge with 14 points, all in the final 16 minutes.
Jared Walde finished the game with 13 points.
“Jared was a monster on the boards,” Sodemann said. “He kept us afloat in the first half.”
Brad Carpenter knocked down three three-pointers and scored 12 points.
Ronnie Suggs added six points. Luke Hasenjaeger and Patrick Menke both had one point.
Tyler Shelton led Holt (6-18) with 18 points.
“Our defense definitely picked up in the second half. We picked up some steals, which turned into easy layups,” Sodemann said. “We were more aggressive offensively in taking the ball to the basket in the second half. We shot three free throws in the first half and 15 in the second half.”
Ft. Zumwalt North won the GAC Central championship. The Panthers own a 7-0 league record entering Thursday’s game at Holt.
Washington was thankful to defeat Holt and even its conference record.
“On the road in the conference, we’ll take the win,” Sodemann said. “It’s just another step that gets us ready for districts. We might have to play a team on their home court in the district tournament, so this kind of experience helps.”
Washington ends the regular season Wednesday against Oakville on senior night at 6 p.m.
The Blue Jays are the top seed for the Class 5 District 10 Tournament next week at Rolla High School. They open the event in the semifinals Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Saturday’s winner between fourth-seeded Northwest and fifth-seeded Lebanon.
The other semifinal game Tuesday is between second-seeded Rolla and third-seeded Waynesville at 7:30 p.m.
The district championship game is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
“It will be a competitive tournament. Any of the top three seeds definitely can win it,” Sodemann said. “Rolla has the advantage playing at home. I’ve seen Waynesville a couple of times and they’re extremely talented. We have to take it one game at a time and focus on our first game against either Northwest or Lebanon.”