Generals drop opener

Washington School boys basketball coach David Rounsavall knew going into the season that he had a talented roster capable of accomplishing big things. He also knew that during the season there would be games like Thursday nights.

Visiting Magnolia Heights came into Greenville and beat the Generals on Thursday 54-43. The loss dropped Washington’s record to 7-4, but more importantly meant the Generals now start conference play with a loss.

Rounsavall said the loss was due to the Generals being out hustled, particularly for rebounds, in the game’s defining second half.

“They played harder than us in the second half,” Rounsavall said. “We gave up 20 points inside and most of those came from giving up offensive rebounds. I hope they learn that our team needs to be first about defense and not about offense.”

Senior star guard Stephon Hemphill led Washington with 16 points, while Washington post player Dawson Gray contributed nine points. Kell Hodges and Brett Etheridge each scored six points.

Both Hemphill and Gray said they believe the team will learn from its loss on Friday and come back stronger for their next game. Washington’s next game is scheduled for Thursday at Lee Academy.

“We have to learn how to play harder and get the rebounds,” Hemphill said. “We just got outplayed and we have to learn from this.”

Said Gray, “I am surprised we lost, but Magnolia Heights played harder than us. They played with a lot of energy and they got the rebounds and we did not.”

Magnolia heights took control of Thursday’s game in the third quarter.

Washington School, who led 23-20 at halftime, gave up its first lead of the second half with four minutes left in the third frame. Twenty seconds into the fourth quarter a 3-pointer by Etheridge helped the Generals cut their deficit to three points, 34-31. But, Magnolia Heights seemed to have an answer for every Washington basket in the game’s deciding quarter.

A baseline jumper by Hemphill cut the Magnolia Heights lead to six points with three minutes left, but Washington would get no closer the rest of the way.

“We have to put this game behind us,” the Washington coach said. “We still have a lot of season in front of us.”