Everybody talks about what is written on the front of the West Greene High School girls basketball warmup attire.
The “Press Greene” inscribed on the front is indicative about what the Pioneers believe in.
But Pioneers coach Jordan Watson wants to talk more about what is written on the back of those same warmups.
“On the back of those shirts, it says 32 minutes of hustle,” Watson said. “As a coaching staff we always say it’s not 29, it’s not 30. It is 32 minutes of hustle no matter what the score, who you are or when you are out there.”
West Greene dominated Washington for all 32 of those minutes Tuesday night.
In a battle of top-ranked teams in their respective classifications, West Greene controlled every part of the game with a convincing 82-46 statement victory over Washington.
“We looked at it as a statement,” Watson said. “We were looking at it as a statement game. I didn’t expect it to be quite as lopsided.”
Lopsided would be an understatement from the start as West Greene (9-1) used its full-court press to force 19 turnovers and score 53 points on the Prexies, more than they’ve allowed opponents to total in eight of their 11 games.
The Pioneers, who eased up on the full-court press in the second half, forced 30 Washington turnovers.
“We have practiced against it. We have seen it. We were expecting it,” said Washington coach Ron Moore. “We didn’t come to play. It was already told to us that West Greene was going to beat us anyway. I thought that would make us a little more assertive and hungry. I guess not.”
The rout was on immediately in the second quarter. West Greene didn’t allow the Prexies (10-2) to score for more than five minutes and went on a 19-0 run led by Jersey Wise, who scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the second quarter as the Pioneers took a commanding 39-13 lead. West Greene outscored Washington 33-10 in the eight minutes before halftime to take a 53-23 lead into the break.
“We wanted (to win) pretty bad,” Wise said. “We watched film, tried to understand their plays and shut them down on defense. Their frustrations showed. We wanted to shut them down completely. We don’t want to any fights but wanted to dominate.”
It was just turnovers that West Greene held an advantage. Six different players for the Pioneers had at least five rebounds, an aspect of the game Watson was concerned about entering the game because of the Prexies’ size.
“Our main concern was rebounding because they are just a lot bigger than we are,” Watson said of West Greene’s Achilles heel in the past. “We think that we can press anybody. We are athletic enough, fast enough and deep enough to do it. It’s a cumulative effect. One turnover snowballs usually leads to two or three more. We just needed to stay even keel and rebound.”
The only threat on the glass given by Washington came from Jahlea Oakley and Carley Allen. Oakley scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Allen, a guard, finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Prexies could have taken an early lead in the foul-plagued game but they only made 7-for-20 free throws. They went 9-for-29 for the game.
“We are horrific,” Moore said about the free-throw woes. “It’s something we work on every single day. We do it for 15 minutes. We even have a free-throw shootathon this weekend. I’m doing anything I can possibly do.”
Madison and McKenna Lampe each scored in double-digits with 15 and 12 points, respectively, for West Greene. Elizabeth Brudnock chipped in 10 points, all in the first half.
“We knew Greensburg Central Catholic (another Class A team) lost to Washington by four earlier in the year,” Watson said. “We are hoping this helps with seeding down the line. They were ranked No. 1 in triple-A. We are the top-ranked team in single-A. We are blessed to have competitive girls. They don’t like to lose.”