Playing in a pair of neutral court contests last weekend, Washington suffered boys basketball losses to Kirkwood and Jefferson City.
The Blue Jays (5-2) lost to Kirkwood 62-51 in the GAC-Suburban Shootout Friday at the St. Charles Family Arena and 70-49 in the Bank of Sullivan Shootout Saturday at Sullivan High School.
Washington played both games without senior starting guard Jacob Mulkey, who is expected to miss two to four weeks with an ankle injury suffered in practice.
“Losing two games is not the end of the world. We have a lot of season left. It’s a good learning experience. We’ve played against some good teams,” said Washington Head Coach Grant Young. “We have to get refocused and have some kids step up while Mulkey is hurt. It will take a couple of practices and a couple of games to get adjusted to some of the younger kids playing.”
The story of the game was Jefferson City 6-6 junior OG Anunoby, who scored 32 points, 20 in the first half, to lead his team to the win.
“My pregame speech wasn’t really a speech. I just put the No. 5 (Anunoby’s number) on the board. We had to know were he was all the time and put guys around him,” Young said. “He’s a great athlete. A lot of their other kids stepped up and made shots in the second half.”
The game was tied 31-31 at halftime before Jeff City outscored Washington 23-11 in the third quarter and 16-7 in the fourth.
“The wheels kind of fell off in the second half. They went on a run where they hit some shots and we turned the ball over two possessions in a row where we couldn’t get any flow,” Young said. “We live and die by the three sometimes with our three-point shooters. They really jumped us by taking the ball out of Ronnie’s (Suggs) hands in the second half and it was tough to get a good look from the wings with Brad (Carpenter).”
Ronnie Suggs paced the Blue Jays with 20 points, 16 in the first half. Mike Morgan added 16 points.
“Mike was calling for the ball, showed some confidence and stepped up for us,” Young said.
Brad Carpenter collected six points. Patrick Menke scored four points. Camron Shipley had three points.
Jake White added 15 points for Jefferson City, coached by former Sullivan coach Blair Thompson. Darion Jones had eight points.
Leading 17-15 after one quarter, Kirkwood (3-2) went on a 21-11 second-quarter run to lead 38-26 at halftime and made it hold in a win over Washington.
“We didn’t play our best, but we still were in the game. We didn’t let the game get away from us. We stuck with it and that’s with Carp (Carpenter) not playing much because of foul trouble,” Young said. “Kirkwood is very athletic. We’re going to see more teams like that. They just took the ball on a rebound and threw it down the floor, without looking. It was a sprint to the ball, and their kids could sprint faster than our kids.”
Suggs led the Blue Jays with 26 points. Carpenter added eight points.
Menke finished with six points. Morgan chipped in with five points. Isaiah West collected three points. Austin Subke scored two points. Trey Walsh had one point.
Antonio Weston led Bill Gunn’s Pioneers with 20 points. Jordan Brown added 10 points.
“We knew Suggs would be a load to handle and that Washington could really shoot the ball. We hoped to force them to play more up-tempo by running a lot of traps and pressure at them,” Gunn said. “We are fortunate to have a deep bench and over the course of four quarters, our numbers and pressure were able to take a toll.”