by Brian Turrel
The Washington Wildcats defeated the Harmon Hawks on Friday night 58-56. The Wildcats overcame a 5-point fourth quarter deficit to pull ahead in the closing minutes. Washington sealed the win with 8-of-9 free throw shooting down the stretch.
The game was televised on Spectrum Sports as their game of the week. Loud, passionate fans from both teams filled the fieldhouse, even with the snow piling up outside.
Harmon opened the game on a high note, getting a backboard-shaking dunk from Lonell Lane off of a turnover. Lane was then called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, and Washington picked up the next 10 points for an early advantage.
The fast action and quick change in momentum had fans from both teams roaring. The Hawks recovered their poise and the first quarter lead at 19-16.
Harmon steadily built their advantage through the second quarter, leading by 7 with less than a minute in the half. Harmon looked to run down the clock, but two quick defensive stops lowered the advantage to 30-27 at halftime.
Washington kept within striking distance throughout the second half, and finally made their move with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Wildcats’ Alton Easley drove for a layup and converted the and-one foul shot for a three-point play and a 51-50 lead.
Even with the slim margin, Washington looked to run down the clock, and they slowed their offensive tempo. They ran the time down to less than a minute, and the Hawks were forced to foul to extend the game to no avail.
Easley finished the game with 34 points for the Wildcats, including 10-of-10 from the free throw line, and Nathan Johnson added 10. Lane led the Hawks with 26 points, and Santos Ruiz scored 13.
The win keeps Washington undefeated in the Kansas City – Atchison League (4-0, 7-1 overall). The play next at Ottawa on Jan. 22. Harmon drops to 2-2 in the league (5-3 overall). They head to the Baldwin varsity tournament next weekend.