The Lady Jays are on a hot streak going into district play.
Washington (15-11, 7-3) finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak, having won four of their last five, with a 55-39 senior night victory against Ft. Zumwalt East (9-15, 4-6).
It was the second time in the final week of the season Washington defeated the Lady Lions after winning a makeup game Monday at Zumwalt East, 64-36.
The Lady Jays flew out to a 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and went into halftime up 38-17.
As was the case in the previous meeting, Washington focused on taking away Zumwalt East’s biggest scoring threat, 6-0 sophomore center Liz Behan. Attempts to force the ball to Behan in the post led to turnovers that the Lady Jays capitalized on with quick baskets on the other end.
“It’s tough to play somebody twice that close and I told them before the game, ‘This is a good basketball team and you guys are going to have to come out here and be ready for them,’ ” Washington Head Coach Doug Light said. “They’re not coming out here thinking, ‘We’re just going to get killed again,’ and I thought our kids really responded well and met that challenge.”
The Lady Jays also took advantage of second-chance opportunities off offensive rebounds, controlling play under their own basket for much of the contest.
“We’ve really been working on those things a lot and this is the time you’ve got to have it together,” Light said. “I feel like we’ve got ourselves together and I don’t think we’ve ever played our best game yet and you hope that the season doesn’t end without you doing that, but we’re headed in that direction and its district time now and this is the time where you’ve got to be putting it together and I think we’re heading in that direction.”
Washington sealed the game in the third period, taking a 52-25 lead into the final period as the Lady Jays got plenty of playing time for their reserves throughout the night.
“They’re great kids,” Light said of his senior group. “All nine of those kids are so good and they’ve been together this long. I went into the locker room before the game and I had a bunch of stuff written and I said, ‘I could erase all of this and just put senior night. That’s all I really needed to say and I think you guys are getting the message. This is our gym on senior night and you guys know what to do. Take care of business.’ ”
Jackie Arnold led all scorers with 24 points.
Reese Arnold was next on the team with 11 points.
Nichole Brinker and Bria Hasenjaeger added six points apiece.
Brooke Robinson netted five points.
Kailey Robinson put through a three-point shot in the second quarter and finished with three points.
Behan topped the state sheet for Zumwalt East with 18 points.
Lauren Stern scored nine points for the Lady Lions.
Other Zumwalt East scorers included Emilee Wright with six points and Macie Farrier and Riley Carmichael with three points apiece.
Washington attempts to collect a fifth-straight district championship in the Class 5 District 4 Tournament at Francis Howell, which gets under way Saturday. The fourth-seeded Lady Jays tip off in the first game at 11 a.m. against No. 5 Marquette.