Fouling Eagles fall to Pats

Washington improves to 10 victories in 54-49 triumph

Washington has lost only three times this season. Poor free throw shooting has been one of the ugly-faced culprits in all three losses.

Even in many of its 10 wins the Patriots haven’t fared well at the foul line.

Maleke Jones impedes progress of a Hedgesville dribbler. Washington defeated the Eagles in a Sectional game.

Maleke Jones impedes progress of a Hedgesville dribbler. Washington defeated the Eagles in a Sectional game.

Most of those wasted chances and wasted free throws can be forgotten after last Friday’s 54-49 win over Hedgesville in a very important game in the Sectional tournament seeding process.

The Patriots went 24-of-32 (75 percent) against the foul-happy Eagles, who were tagged with multiple technical fouls along the way.

The black-clad Eagles (whose school colors are powder blue and gold) were 9-for-13 from the foul line.

Making 75 percent of its many free throws was at least a co-star headliner in what could be a vital win toward Washington’s chances of qualifying for its first-ever state tournament in Charleston.

The second feature in the defeat of the Eagles was the change in tempo that came in the fourth quarter. Hedgesville’s dull-the-senses pace had been in evidence for the first three quarters. Washington led, 34-33, making a substantial number of its free throws to get its scant lead.

In the fourth quarter alone, the Patriots would score 20 points. The snail’s pace was gone for the most part. Players got to do more than walk or trot about in half-court settings.

The tempo was more rapid. And in its quest to keep pace with the quick-footed Patriots, Hedgesville continued to foul — both on the court and from the sidelines where Coach Kelly Church was given a technical foul at the tailend of the third period.

A third ingredient in Washington’s success was its ability to keep Hedgesville from securing offensive rebounds. The Eagles weren’t shooting well. And when they couldn’t retrieve many of their frequent misses they couldn’t do much scoring.

Dominique Newman made 12-of-15 free throws. Despite missing five free throws, Christian Coles had 11 points.

So much time was spent at the foul line that Washington could win a game where it had only 13 field goals, including four three-pointers.

Washington moved into second place among the five Sectional schools (The Patriots, Jefferson, Musselman, Hedgesville, and Martinsburg). The only Patriot loss to any of those teams was a 14-point verdict at Martinsburg.

Free throws are anything but free.

And the 24 frree throws Washington made were expensive enough to cost Church and Hedgesville a loss.

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