BY MIKE RILEY
The final score was 61-46. As expected, 6-6 New Washington beat winless Henryville. How it happened was a bit of surprise.
The Mustangs opened the game turning the ball over nine times and attempted only three shots while falling behind 13-0.
During last year’s 1-21 campaign, that may have been the end of the Mustangs. On Friday, New Wash that overcame the horrendous start in what would be a 28-point turnaround and picked up an important Southern Athletic Conference road win over the Hornets.
For New Washington (2-1 SAC) the turnaround came quickly. Not scoring until two free throws by Ian Hughes a the 1:14 mark of the opening quarter, that was the start of a 31-10 run by the Mustangs that saw them tie the score at 17, 19 and 21 before Adan Diaz gave them their first lead of the game to make it 23-21.
Henryville (0-9, 0-2) never led again, trailing 31-23 at halftime.
A 9-2 run late in the third quarter with a 3-pointer by Tyler Collins pulled the Hornets to within 35-32. Another Collins trey pulled his team to within 39-37 early in the fourth quarter.
New Washington then sealed the deal with an 18-3 run as the Hornets are still looking for their first win of the season.
“We wrote on the board before the game ‘Four quarters of consistency,’” New Washington coach Jonathan May said. “We did the exact opposite of that tonight. Consistency and taking care of the ball — those are two things that we need to improve on if we’re going to accomplish the goals that we’ve set for this season.
“Early on, we knew that Collins was their main offensive threat and we gave him three quick easy baskets,” May recalled. “We then seemed to pick it up defensively when [Wesley] Napier and [James] Clemons came into the game. They gave us a big boost off of the bench,”
Hughes finished with 18 points. Logan Miles added 14 points as he made four 3-pointers. Adan Diaz finished with 10 points and got some high praise from his coach.
“Adan had a huge game tonight,” May said. “He had 10 points, he only took seven shots. He shot 50 percent from the field. He had three rebounds, three assists, four steals and didn’t make but one turnover. And he did a good defensive job on a guy that was about a foot taller.”
Henryville, which only used six players on the night, was led by Collins with 21 points. Cody Reister posted a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought early on that we executed well offensively,” Henryville first-year coach Dan Carmony said. “It helps when you make baskets and defensively we played aggressive and forced some turnovers.
“In the second quarter, we started turning the ball over and Diaz hit a couple of shots when we were letting up on him. I thought we started to come back after halftime and then we got into some foul trouble.”
The Mustangs will return to action tonight as they host Madison Shawe. The Mustangs, who will be looking to go over the .500 mark, return to action next Friday when they host Providence.
“I believe any win is a positive,” May said, “But consistency, it begins in practice.”
The Hornets have lost 14 straight games going back to last season.
“Slow steps at a time,” Carmony said. “But the kids are still working and playing hard. I can live with that until we get over the hump.”