Woodward-Granger girls hold on for season's biggest win
Woodward-Granger girls basketball put in its final work in front of a crowd before winter break hits next week. Leaving a good impression Friday night at home, the Hawks (2-5, 2-3) took down Ogden (0-6, 0-4) with a 49-33 win.
Holding a lead
With a seven-point lead at halftime, the Hawks were intent on keeping their end of the bargain Friday after letting a similar lead slip through their fingers earlier in the week. Woodward held a 22-16 lead only to fall 41-39 to Interstate 35 on Tuesday. This time against the Bulldogs, Woodward head coach Gary Dresback said it was a combination of a different opponent and attacking the game differently that tipped the scales the right direction.
"I-35 understood they weren't out of the game at that point. Their kids understood they just needed to keep working and we relaxed a little bit. That's a bad combination," Dresback explained. "Tonight, we didn't really relax."
Forcing mistakes early
Part of the team's security came from positioning the Bulldogs in difficult spots, sending the Hawks to the foul line once bonus territory was hit with five minutes left in the first half.
Woodward methodically chipped away at Ogden's 2-3 zone, pushing down the side and causing chaos down the lane. That not only set the team up for 14 points off free throws but also 20 points from Grace Deputy who's become a focal point of the fresh offense.
"We talked to Grace about trying to position herself so we get her the basketball in that early offense and try to take advantage that we're extending two people out which means we could play 4-on-3 for a little bit," Dresback said.
Working the paint has been the bread and butter of W-G's offense this season. Stepping back behind the arc has taken more persuasion. Coming into the game, Woodward ranked 57th in the class in three-point efficiency and 63rd in attempts. Friday night, the team hit five three-pointers, twice their rate this season.
Throwing precedence to the side, Woodward's efforts on the outside were vital game changers. Just as Ogden was coming on strong to open the second quarter with the first five points, Rian Jamison's long ball put the Bulldogs in their place. Similarly, Darby Nixon hit a three-pointer to open the third quarter, heeding the locker room's advice to stay aggressive out of the gate.
"Outside of Darby and Ava (Petersen) we don't have a lot of speed, so we have to change our game a little bit," Dresback said. "Pretty much everybody has the green light from the three-point line if they get their feet set."
Overall, Nixon hit three long balls and posted a 12-point performance. Ava Petersen (8 points), Jenna Achenbach (5) and Jamison (4) filled out the rest of Woodward's slate.
W-G's next game comes after a two week holiday break. The Hawks will take on Madrid on Monday, Jan. 4. Their last meeting was a slow-moving grind that Woodward won 27-24 in postseason action.