Hawks girls escape with one win in first two games back

Sean Cordy

Woodward-Granger girls basketball (3-7, 3-5) came out of the winter break splitting back-to-back action. First came a 27-26 win Monday against Madrid (1-8, 0-4) while Tuesday's result was a less favorable 41-30 loss to Pleasantville (5-5, 3-3).

Closing the deal

The Hawks seem to always have issues with the Tigers. That rang true again on Monday as it was a white knuckle game from start to finish with the score never veering more than a couple of possessions in either direction.

Grace Deputy looks for a shot against a couple Pleasantville players on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.

Tied 23-23 in the fourth quarter, Grace Deputy put in her final four points of the night to push the Hawks ahead 27-23. Madrid turned around with a desperation three-pointer. Moments later, a Tigers shot went up only for Rian Jamison's hand to get in the way and claim the 27-26 win.

This is the second game in a row against Madrid which has been decided by a single possession. Last year's postseason matchup was a 27-24 victory for the Hawks.

"It's just one of those rivalry situations where they're always going to give you their best effort," Hawks head coach Gary Dresback. "They don't care if they don't win another game all season long. If they beat you, it's like their Super Bowl. That kind of mentality."

Game of momentum

That alternating game script continued Tuesday night as the Hawks battled back facing a considerable deficit only to breathe down Pleasantville's neck down the stretch.

Before heading into halftime, Ava Petersen drew up a buzzer-beater to bring the score within 23-18. The Hawks needed every point they could as they'd come out of the locker room unprepared for the Trojans to put up the first six points. 

Darby Nixon moves the ball up the court during a home contest on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Then Darby Nixon put the Trojans on skates as she laid in a fast break, setting the Hawks up on a comeback that tied the game 29-29 as the Hawks D locked up. Dresback said the defense just collapsed in the final quarter, helping the Trojans escape with the win despite the efforts to claw back.

"Mistake, mistake, mistake, unfortunately," Dresback said. "Played soft on the defensive boards. [We] didn't go up and get a rebound we should have gotten. Stuff like that just compounded. Next thing you know, they're up 4-5 points."

Building more pieces

Nixon wasn't the only piece of the puzzle that helped get the Hawks to contend. Her 12 points were joined by seven more from Jenna Achenbach who had the game-tying jumper in the fourth quarter.

Dresback said combined with her eight-point performance against Madrid, she's starting to come into her role as someone that's not afraid to pull the trigger. Additionally, while Jamison and Faith Keuhl had a lesser presence on scoring, Dresback praised their effectiveness on defense.

Rian Jamison, left, and Darby Nixon on defense during a home contest against Pleasantville on Jan. 5.

"I thought [they] played their butts off, especially the second half in the post," Dresback explained. "Undersized, but they battled. They neutralized those big kids in the second half for a decent share of it."

Next Up

Woodward will face ACGC (5-3, 5-2) Friday on the Chargers' court. They've been taking care of business all season with only two losses in conference play this season.