WASHINGTON — Whatever Washington High School girls basketball coach Shannon Rugg said or did in the halftime locker room, he needs to bottle it for future use.
In Washington’s first game of the season, the Demons trailed Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 9-8 after the first quarter and were tied at 19 to start the third quarter, but by the end of the stanza, it was a 37-22 advantage on the way to a 53-42 win.
“It was really nothing we were doing differently,” Rugg said of the 18-3 third-quarter blitz. “It’s just that we were doing it better.”
Halle Leyden hit her WHS career high with 21 points on six 3-pointers and 3 of 4 free throws.
“Coach had me shoot 600 threes before I left practice last week and I made 253,” Leyden said. “I think I’m where I want to be. I have been working on shooting even when somebody is coming out to defend me. I have my confidence up and that made a difference.”
“I have told her numerous times if she is not going to shoot the ball then I am not going to play her,” Rugg said. “When your coach is telling you to always shoot the ball, what more confidence do you need?”
Kinsey Duwa and Madison Fishback each hit a triple while Demons teammate Anna Nacos canned two treys on her way to 10 points. Addison Six also connected for 10 points and Olivia Pacha added six. Six also had three blocks.
The visitors started pressing late in the third and had a 12-3 run early in the fourth quarter to get within eight points.
“I wish I had put the press on sooner because it caused them some problems,” EBF coach Tony Fenton said. “That girl (Leyden) got hot on us from the outside, but we were spending our energy defending their height and length.”
In the fourth quarter, the Rockets hit six triples, but the Demons went 9 of 11 at the foul line to secure the win.
Washington play next at Cedar Rapids Washington Tuesday, Dec. 3.