SANTA CLAUS -- Not quite like 65-1-shot Country House winning the Kentucky Derby. But the Big Eight Conference boys' golf tournament marked a reversal, too, as Washington won the team championship.

"Jasper beat us Monday on its course and Tuesday at French Lick," said Washington Coach Trey Miller, whose Hatchets prevailed Saturday by shooting 332 to 345 for the defending champion Wildcats on the Christmas Lake course.

"Our guys played within themselves and didn't force anything."

Mount Vernon placed third at 377, followed by Vincennes Lincoln at 381 and Boonville at 410. Seniorless Princeton Community, the tourney's youngest team, finished sixth at 461. Mount Carmel did not play since boys' golf is a fall semester sport in Illinois.

Washington sophomore Zach Gray became medalist by shooting a five-over-par 36-41--77 and winning a sudden-death playoff on the first hole when Jasper senior Jack Bies, after shooting 38-39--77, could not find the ball he shot on that hole.

Bies will play golf at Northern Kentucky University.

Mount Vernon junior Jackson May placed third at 40-40--80, Jasper junior Avery Hollinden fourth at 42-39--81.

Washington sophomore Dominic DePass and junior teammate Brock Melton, listed in the lineup as the Hatchets' fifth man, each shot 40-43--83.

In the post-tourney awards ceremony, DePass was announced as fifth overall and Melton sixth.

Boonville senior Ben Meier and Jasper junior Landon Kissel tied for seventh at 87,

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Meier shooting nines of 45 and 42, Kissel 44 and 43.

While the All-Big Eight Team annually includes just seven players, and Meier was announced as seventh and Kissel eighth, there was debate on whether Big Eight rule might put both on the all-league team.

Junior Henry Wilhite led Princeton at 55-50--105, followed by classmate Ethan Banyai at 57-56--113. Sophomore Lucas Fugate shot 66-55--121, classmate Caleb Hiatt 61-61--122, freshman Kaleb Engler 61-65--126.

"A really difficult day weather-wise," said Princeton Church of the Nazarene Reverend Andrew Johnson, in his first season as the Tigers' head coach.

"When our players hit into the rough, they had to play down from there. We couldn't utilize the lie. For some of our players, this probably was the first time for that."

"A long day, but our kids kept their heads up."

The Tigers are slated to play Southridge on Tuesday at Huntingburg Country Club, then Washington on Saturday at Country Oaks. These will serve as preps for the Gibson County Championships that they'll host, and then the Vincennes Sectional.

"We'll keep improving," said Johnson, who added, "We'll play our best in the sectional."

The Tigers were paced by Henry Wilhite's 105, while Ethan Banyai (113), Lucas Fugate (121) and Caleb Hiatt (122) rounded out the scoring.

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