By PAUL HINES
The Lady Cardinals lost their opening game 73-35 Monday night against Zeigler-Royalton/Christopher.
Woodlawn played the game without its returning leading scorer Alexa Capps. The senior missed the game due to disciplinary reasons and will be back for the team’s next game against Johnston City.
“That’s something the girls didn’t really realize until tonight,” Woodlawn coach Trisha Draege said. “So of course not having that experience, that talent out there on the floor hurts you.”
Woodlawn sliced the deficit to 20-15 early in the second quarter after back-to-back 3-pointers from Allison England and Carly Ethridge. But the Lady Tornados quickly pushed their advantage back to double digits late in the half. ZRC extended its lead to 30 points midway through the third quarter.
The Lady Tornados forced the Lady Cardinals into 35 turnovers. Woodlawn’s guards struggled to maintain possession of the basketball throughout the game with the absence of Capps.
“We played eight girls tonight that had never had varsity high school experience before,” Draege said. “They were nervous. It was their first game ever. There’s a lot of little mistakes.”
Catherine Coleman led Woodlawn with nine points. Kerstie Harlow and Ethridge added seven points each. Woodlawn’s Makaila Ballard led all players with nine rebounds.
The game was stopped about a minute early after a collision at the baseline under one of the baskets between two players. Coleman inadvertently collided with a ZRC player, injuring her. An ambulance was called, and the player was taken off on a stretcher.
“The refs and her mom too would rather be safe than sorry I think with something like that, and it’s not like the game was close and a nail-biter,” Draege said. “Just call it, take care of the kid.”
Woodlawn is 0-1 and travels to the DuQuoin Tournament and faces Johnston City in its opening game. The game is at 8:30 p.m. tonight.