Scoring 82 points figured to be enough for Washington to break out of its boys basketball skid experienced over the last few games.
But it wasn’t.
Timberland (6-5) escaped Washington High School last Friday with an 85-82 victory over the Blue Jays.
“It’s not what we’re doing. It’s how we’re doing it,” said Washington Head Coach Grant Young. “The last field goal they made was off an offensive rebound. Individually, each of us have to do our jobs, which includes blocking out defensively. Everybody has to do it. The extra chance opportunities we’re allowing teams are killing us. It killed us tonight.”
Washington (6-5) has lost five of its last six contests after starting the season with a five-game winning streak.
“We’re 1-5 in the last six games after starting 5-0. We can’t base our season on the start we had. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Young said. “We’re going to have to work hard to get out of this hole. We’ve dug a hole in these last six games that we’re going to have to get out of. We can’t do it individually. We’re going to have to do it as a team. Our kids are frustrated. They know they can play better. We’ll get through it. I’m not giving up on these kids.”
With the Blue Jays trailing Timberland 84-82, Washington’s Ronnie Suggs went to the free-throw line for two shots with 2.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Suggs missed the first free-throw attempt, which forced him to miss the second, and hope for an offensive rebound and score.
It didn’t work out that way as the Wolves grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made one of two free throws on the other end.
A long-distance shot by Suggs fell short as the final buzzer sounded.
The game hardly fell on Suggs’ shoulders. He finished with a career-high 37 points, scoring 15 points in the first half and 22 in the second half.
Mike Morgan continued his hot play by scoring 24 points. He had 15 points on five three-pointers in the first half.
Brad Carpenter finished the game with 10 points.
Austin Subke chipped in with four points. Jacob Mulkey, Patrick Menke and Trey Walsh each scored two points. Jacob Huxol had one point.
Mulkey returned to the lineup after missing the last five games with an ankle injury.
“We got Mulkey back, which was great. He couldn’t do a lot out there. Just getting him on the floor and getting him some playing time and some game experience was good,” Young said. “We had some foul trouble in the third quarter and sat some kids.”
Timberland’s biggest offensive weapons were 6-4 forward Bobby Marco on the inside and guards Adam Ingle and Andrew Jehle from the outside.
“They made two big threes. The Jehle kid hit two 30-footers on us and that was tough,” Young said. “We had to key on Ingle and Jehle the whole time. Those are their best two shooters. We let them get open a few times.”
Washington jumped to a 16-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game on nine points by Morgan and seven by Suggs.
Timberland responded with a 12-0 run over the next two minutes to grab an 18-16 advantage.
The Wolves led 21-19 after one quarter.
The second quarter went back and forth with both teams holding leads.
The Blue Jays took a 39-37 advantage into intermission.
Leading 61-59 after three quarters, the Wolves held a 73-66 advantage with 4:08 left in the fourth period after a pair of three-pointers by Ingle.
Washington trimmed the deficit to 81-80 on a three-point play by Suggs with 1:07 remaining on the clock.
A basket by Marco after an offensive rebound proved to make the difference, pushing Timberland’s lead to 83-80 with 51 seconds left.
“We held a good Lafayette team to 46 points in our last game at Meramec, didn’t allow many layups and still lost. Tonight, we allowed too many layups with the offensive rebounds. We allowed them to get to the basket with their dribble penetration. We allowed the big post player (Marco) to do things around the basket and make shots,” Young said. “You have to give them credit. They made shots. We didn’t make key shots at the right time.”
Washington’s home game Monday against Winfield was postponed due to the weather. A rescheduled date has not been announced.
The Blue Jays (1-0 in the GAC Central) meet Holt (4-6) in a league contest Thursday in the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout at Scottrade Center in St. Louis at 11 a.m.
Washington is the top seed for its own tournament next week, opening against eighth-seeded St. Clair Monday at 6 p.m.
“This stretch does not determine our season. We have a lot of season left against good competition. We’re going to have to come together,” Young said. “We have great kids. They’ll run through a wall for me. I know they’ll get out of this. There’s plenty of time left to do it.”