HOPE — The Hauser girls basketball team was hoping to sail into the holiday break on a four-game win streak. But visiting West Washington was in Grinch mode Saturday afternoon.
An anemic first half on offense doomed the Jets, who fell into an early hole and never recovered in a 61-38 setback.
The Senators (6-5) were in command from the outset, getting three straight baskets from Ryana Watson to open the game and a 3-pointer from Chelsea Carter that made it 9-0 less than three minutes in. Hauser (7-4) clawed back to within 12-6 early in the second quarter, but West Washington reeled off 10 straight points to go into the break with a 26-8 cushion.
“I wasn’t really terribly disappointed with holding them to 26, but you can’t score eight points in a half and beat anybody,” Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said.
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The first half was a perfect storm that sank Hauser’s ship with ease. The Jets were 4 of 24 from the field and missed all six of their free throw attempts, and second shots were nowhere to be found – West Washington dominated the glass, out-rebounding Hauser in the first 16 minutes 23-11.
Watson was primarily responsible for that disparity, grabbing almost as many first-half rebounds (10) as the Jets’ entire team. The junior finished the day with 24 points and 15 boards, while senior teammate Taylor Stroud added 17 points.
The Senators’ zone defense seemed to give the Jets trouble, particularly in the early going. That’s something Hamilton wasn’t surprised to see – and something he expects to keep seeing until his team can make enough perimeter shots to make opponents change tactics.
“People are going to zone us,” he said. “That’s the storybook on us until we prove that we can score baskets against the zone and pull them out of it.”
The Jets went nine minutes and 15 seconds without scoring Saturday, finally breaking the drought with a Taylor Henderson basket midway through the third period. A brief surge to end the quarter helped Hauser cut the deficit from 22 to 14, but the comeback bid stalled in the fourth quarter.
“We just realized that this was a beatable team, and we wanted to give it a shot,” senior guard Abbey Ashbrook said of the Jets’ improvements in the second half. “Obviously, we didn’t get that done, but we at least gave more effort in the second half.”
Ashbrook led Hauser with seven points.
“I thought the effort was there in the second half,” Hamilton echoed. “I felt like the kids hustled, they worked hard every possession. We were trying to get back into it, but when you dig that much of a hole, it’s difficult to do that.”
The Jets will have 10 days to shake off the defeat before returning to action Dec. 29 at the Union City Invitational.