WASHINGTON — New Washington head coach Larry Johnston had gone 1-3 against Donnie Husband and the Latta Panthers during his time with the Roff Tigers.

Monday night when the two coaches met for the fifth time, it sure helped that Darren Townley was on Johnston’s side.

Townley — an area transplant from Konawa who now finds himself in Washington — erupted for a game-high 30 points to lead the Warriors to a 63-52 win inside the Larry J. McAlister Fieldhouse.

Washington — ranked No. 10 in Class 2A — improved to 13-8 while No. 18 Latta slipped to 13-10.

In the girls’ contest, most people around the state know full well the abilities of the Washington duo of Lana Keith and Tiffany Jupin. But the Latta Lady Panthers found out the hard way that the top-ranked Lady Warriors have another big offensive threat.

Super sophomore Krista Beaty scored a season-high 29 points to propel Washington past Latta 59-42 in the opener.

Coach Rocky Clarke — who coached a number of seasons at Byng High School — had now guided the Lady Warriors to a 22-2 record while No. 20 Latta dipped to 14-9.


Washington 63, Latta 52

The Panthers had cut a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to three on a pair of Dakota Roebuck free throws with 1:04 left in the game.

But Townley followed with two free throws of his own, came up with a steal and hit two more free throws to ice the game with 45 seconds left. Just for good measure, Townley scored on a steal and layup with time running out to help the Warriors end the game on an 8-0 run — with the WHS senior move-in accounting for six of those final points.

Townley hit big shot after big shot in the contest, finishing 10-of-14 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

“I thought Darren Townley was really good. Wow. He played super. That’s the best I’ve seen him play and he put 25 on us when he was at Konawa. He was awesome tonight,” Husband said.

Johnston hopes to see more of this type of performance during Washington’s upcoming 2A playoff run.

“It doesn’t surprise you when he takes over a game.That’s one of the things we’re trying to do — get him to take it over almost ever night,” Johnston said. “He’s surrounded by a bunch of really good players and he makes them better. That’s the neat thing about him.”

It was Latta which started off hot. Trevan Jimboy — returning to the lineup after missing a week — hit a 3-pointer and a layup to end the first quarter and Roebuck scored on a drive to the basket to open the second as LHS built a 22-14 lead, its biggest of the night.

But Washington stayed within striking distance and Townley’s 3-pointer from the left corner on a set play as time was running out in the second quarter cut Latta’s lead to 30-29 at the break. Still, Husband said he was pleased with his club’s first-half effort.

“We felt like we were in pretty good shape at the half, up by one against a really good team,” he said.

The Panthers had hit 13-of-22 (59%) field goals during the first two quarters.

The lead changed hands five times early in the second quarter, but after Kolbie Brown’s 3-pointer got Latta to within 39-38 at the 2:55 mark, Washington would reel off eight unanswered points to keep Latta at bay. With Latta center Isaac Vandever on the bench after picking up his fourth foul just 21 seconds into the third quarter, Tyler Simmons scored a basket inside and followed with a pair of free throws and Townley completed with run with back-to-back baskets — including a floater on a drive down the middle that put Washington ahead 47-38.

Vandever, despite getting into quick foul trouble, scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and was a force inside while he was on the court.

“He really did play well. It would have been nice to have kept him on the floor the whole time. There’s no doubt about that. That hurt us,” Husband said.

More playing time by Vandever might have also helped offset Washington’s 31-20 rebounding edge.

Jimboy also scored 12 for the Panthers while Jeremi Correll added eight, all in the first half.

Tyler Hancock came off the bench for the Warriors and contributed 11 points and five rebounds while Simmons followed with 10 points and seven caroms.

“I thought we competed right there with them. A play here or a play there and that game could have went either way,” Husband said. “We were right there though. They’re a team that is supposed to go to the state tournament. If we can sustain and go on from here, I think we have a great opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs.”


Washington 59, Latta 42

Latta had no answer for Beaty, who reached 29 points by going 11-of-13 from the field and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe.

The Lady Panthers did hang with the highly-touted hosts for two-quarters plus and when Chelsey Bennett hit three-of-four free throws to start the third quarter and Tosha MacCollister added a fourth, Latta had knotted the score at 27-27.

But Beaty scored three times in the paint and Jupin hit a 3-pointer in a 9-0 run that the Lady Panthers would never recover from.

Beaty scored again to open the fourth quarter, Kaitlen Cooley threw in a putback and Jupin hit another triple in a 7-0 WHS spurt to open the final period and give the Lady Warriors a comfortable 46-31 advantage with 6:36 left.

And things didn’t get much better for Latta the rest of the way.

The Lady Panthers looked like the No. 1 team early on, racing to a 16-9 lead after freshman Skyler Jenson scored a fast break bucket after a Beth Nevland rebound and outlet pass.

Eight straight points gave Washington a 17-16 lead and the game was nip and tuck during the second period.

Kelby Roberson’s basket inside the paint after a nice assist from Keith put Washington on top 27-23 at the break.

Bennett led the way for the visitors with 11 points while Jenson followed with 10.

Washington got 14 points Keith.

Latta is back in action Saturday, hosting Calera in a pair of Class 2A District Tournament title contests.

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