WASHINGTON TWP. — If any team needed a win in the worst way, it was Washington Township.
The Senators began their season winning 10 straight before dropping three in a row as Porter County Conference play picked back up on Thursday at home against Hebron.
In a back-and-forth affair for three quarters, the Senators turned the screws in the fourth and pulled away for a 61-49 win over the Hawks.
"Our half-court defense was giving them a lot of easy looks so we went to our pressure defense late in the third and in our opinion, that was the difference in the game," Washington coach Scott Bowersock said. "(Hebron) does a great job with their half-court stuff and they're hard to defend in it so we tried to switch it up. Fortunately for us, the guys did a nice job responding and hitting their assignments with the full court pressure."
The first half featured six ties and five lead changes with the Senators (11-3, 4-0) taking a 28-24 lead into halftime. Post play was the featured offense for both teams as Hebron forward Carson Roeske scored 16, while Washington posts Dylan Clem and Brock Pappas scored eight each.
Hebron got within one twice in the third and went on a 6-0 run and took its first lead since 4-2 with a Peyton Doelling basket to make it 38-37. Clem would answer on the other end with five straight points, including his first career 3, as the Sens led 44-40 after three.
Clem had a team-high 17 points and added eight rebounds. Zach Little (14) and Colin Burton (12) were also in double figures for W.T. Pappas added nine points and eight boards.
"We trust our post players and Dylan's worked hard on his mid-range, he's spent all off-season working on that," Bowersock said. "That's what I like about this team that it can be a different person every night and (Thursday) was Dylan's night."
The 6-foot-1 senior's point total matched his career-high as him and Pappas held Roeske to six points in the second half.
"I hit that first shot and everything started flowing after that," Clem said. "Hebron's defense was laying back and the offense got flowing and my teammates got me the ball to shoot it. The defense came back out when I hit a few and that allowed our offense to attack inside. We came in at halftime and knew this would be a physical game and Brock and I knew as the big men that we just had to buckle down, switch and call out screens so we can try and stop him from getting more points."
A steal and layup by Peyton Doelling got Hebron within two at 46-44 but an 8-0 Washington run proved to be the difference.
"This win was huge for so many reasons," Bowersock said. "It keeps us in the PCC round-robin race, it gets us off that losing streak and back into the win column and it was big for our confidence. We were struggling a little bit coming in and I was really pleased with our defense. I thought our offense flowed pretty well too and we got the shots we wanted to get within it."
Roeske led the Hawks (5-7, 2-3) with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds.
"We kept matching baskets and typically, we're not that kind of team," Hebron coach Mike Grennes said. "We just had a very difficult time getting to where we needed to be at the end of the game. We missed some open shots there down the stretch and didn't get stops when we needed them.
"Our defense has been pretty strong most of the year and I kept telling the guys to get three stops and we'd get a couple and then they'd score. Washington has had some losses recently, but they're a good team."
Peyton Doelling added 11 points and three assists for Hebron. Logan Ryan chipped in nine points and six rebounds.