By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Woodlawn used a stifling defense on its way to a 58-44 win over Waltonville in the 1A regional semifinal game Wednesday night.
Woodlawn pressured Waltonville throughout the opening half and raced to a 30-11 halftime lead.
“You need to play with the lead because they're going to be real deliberate on offense,” Woodlawn coach Shane Witzel said. “We wanted to get off to a fast start and try to play with the lead to try to keep them from shortening the game somewhat.”
The Cardinals pressure led to several easy buckets, and Waltonville turned the ball over 17 times in the game.
“They just took it from us and rammed it down our throat and got layups,” Waltonville coach Brian Gamber said.
Woodlawn finished with three players in double digits. Jake Robinson led the group with 16 points. Logan Wollerman added 14, and Ross Owens finished with 10.
Dylan Miller led the Spartans with 18 points with 11 coming at the foul line. All his points came in the second half. Justin Winchester joined him in double figures with a dozen points.
Wollerman's outside shooting helped Woodlawn seize a big lead early. He knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the opening period and helped Woodlawn take a 13-2.
“That definitely helped some, and he attacked the basket off the dribble as well and was really aggressive,” Witzel said. “That gives us another offensive threat out there, and that's what you'd like to have is five kids on the floor that are threats offensively.”
The Spartans never got close again after Woodlawn's early run.
The Woodlawn advantage ballooned to 20 with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Spartans started the second half with a five-minute scoring drought. Winchester canned a 3-pointer with 2:51 left in the third that made the score 36-14.
The teams traded points throughout the final quarter.
“At least I thought we competed a lot better than what he did in the first half,” Gamber said. “Unfortunately when you dig yourself a 30-11 (halftime) hole, you're not going to come back from it, not against those guys.”
Woodlawn improved to 23-3 overall this season and will play for the regional title at 7 p.m. Friday night. Waltonville ended its season with a 10-16 mark.
Sesser-Valier joins Woodlawn in the championship after a 74-59 win over Christopher in the other semifinal matchup on Wednesday night.