The new year looks pretty good on the Hawks. Woodward-Granger is riding a 15 game win streak on the hardwood thanks to the girls and boys squads’ surges.
Over the last decade, it was more common to have long losing streaks. This year offers a change of pace with the girls riding an eight game streak. The boys are riding high on seven straight wins that have them ranked No. 17 in the latest AP Poll.
Leading up to this streak, Woodward’s longest string of wins was nine combined wins to start the 2011-12 season.
With a monstrous 44-16 win Tuesday over Pleasantville, girls head coach Gary Dresback has his longest win streak of his career in Woodward.
There’s still more work needed to change perception around Iowa though as the Hawks have yet to hit the state rankings.
Their wins don’t come from lighting up the scoreboard but rather, dimming the lights on their opponents who average just 33.8 points. That’s enough to keep winning despite posting just 41.2 points per game.
Without a top-notch offense, a run at the state tournament would break remarkable precedence.
W-G ranks seventh in points allowed among Class 2A teams. Most notably, that ranks behind two of the eight teams in the state tournament last season. The Hawks’ offense is further down the totem pole at 56th in points per game.
Over the last decade, every single 2A champion has scored more than 50 points per game and ranked in the top 50. Furthermore, all eight tournament teams last season ranked in the top 40 in scoring.
Along with those top offenses often came a quality defense comparable to W-G’s numbers this season. Of those eight teams at state last year, all but No. 61 Unity Christian were in the top 25 in points allowed.
As far as Iowa basketball is concerned, offense — not defense — wins championships. Three teams in the last 10 years have won it all while allowing over 40 points per game. Those teams all touted clips of at least 65 points a game. Additionally, half of last year’s state bracket touted top 10 scoring offenses, and none were outside the top 40.
W-G will likely have to stay perfect the rest of the way as only two 2A teams last season made the final eight with two or more losses.
The boys’ matchup with Pleasantville wasn’t as clean as the girls’ win. It took an overtime clash to walk out with the W, the Hawks’ second win this season with extra minutes.
Despite the close call, expectations are ready to soar even further riding a seven game streak. A landmark win over Madrid the week before has the team on the cusp of a top 10 rank.
W-G has found a groove on both ends of the floor. The Hawks average 67.6 points and allow just 36.3 points per game. Those marks rank 12th and seventh among Class 2A competition, and combine for the third highest point differential (still a far cry from reigning champ North Linn’s 57 point margin).
Last season, the Hawks finished the season with the No. 19 offense (64 points) and No. 31 defense (51.9 points) en route to a 16-5 record. Playing at a cut above those marks has the team primed for a postseason push beyond where the Hawks landed last year.
There may be more forgiveness for any slip ups down the road as seven of eight state qualifiers last season had two or more losses (three of which had lost four times or more.)
With games being cancelled throughout the area Friday, Jan. 10, W-G looks to extend its winning ways Tuesday, Jan 14 against Panorama.