By PAUL HINES
Woodlawn battled back against Oblong but couldn’t complete its comeback in Tuesday’s 1A sectional semifinal.
Oblong won the game 64-60 and advances to Friday’s sectional championship.
Woodlawn trailed for most of the game, leading briefly after a 10-0 run in the second quarter. Oblong took a 31-27 advantage into halftime but added to the lead with another surge in the third. Up by three, the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to push its advantage to double digits late in the third.
“There were several times that we chipped back into (the deficit), and we were on the verge of really getting back to where we could get the lead again and they were always able to keep us at a 10-point deferential,” Woodlawn coach Shane Witzel said.
Oblong held a nine-point edge with a minute left before Woodlawn furiously rallied. The Cardinals’ Kris Harlow canned a jumper and stole the ball on the next possession. Gabe Owens fired up a 3-pointer that sliced the deficit to 61-57. Woodlawn crept closer after an Oblong free throw made.
Jayson Hapeman connected from long-range to make the score 62-60 with five seconds left.
“At that point you’re in scramble mode where you’re trying to trap and if you foul you foul,” Witzel said. “You try to trap in the backcourt and see if you can try and get some turnovers.
“We made a couple threes from deep.”
Woodlawn fouled Collin Messe who stepped to the free throw line and made both of his attempts. Hapeman threw up a shot as the buzzer sounded.
Owens led the Cardinals with 19 points, and Harlow added 11. Anthony Johnson finished with 17 points to lead the Panthers.
Oblong opened up its first significant margin late in the opening quarter. Up 14-11, the Panthers ended the quarter with five straight points. The Panthers led 21-13 before Woodlawn used the momentum of an Oblong intentional foul to rattle off 10 straight points and took its only lead of the game. Kurt Knollenberg got tangled up with Matt Kennedy along the baseline and was hit with the intentional. Owens canned a pair of free throws to start the run. He ended it with a pair of 3-pointers midway through the second quarter.
Woodlawn held Johnson to two points at the half. He averages 25 a game.
Post player Jarod Mayhew hurt the Cardinals with a dozen points in the opening half.
Woodlawn finished the season 26-4 this season.