By RICK HAYES
Top-ranked Woodlawn lived up to its top billing at Sides Gym on Tuesday night topping rival Sesser-Valier 46-32.
The game was halted with 1:33 left in regulation when Woodlawn senior Logan Isaac went down with a back injury after being accidentally undercut while driving to the bucket. EMS personnel were summoned and the game was stopped after coaches from both schools mutually agreed the balance of the game should not be played.
“It was a classy move by their coaching staff. At that point with that long of a delay it’s kind of hard to focus on basketball. I’m kind of numb right now,” said Woodlawn coach Shane Witzel.
“There was no point in finishing,” S-V coach Chip Basso said. “You can’t make a lot of turnovers against Woodlawn and you can’t shoot 1-of-9 in the second quarter and expect to win. They’re too good of a team to allow that to happen.”
After leading by just three at the first stop, Woodlawn outscored the Red Devils 13-2 in the second quarter to take a 22-9 lead to the lockers. The Red Devils made just one field goal in the second and third quarters. S-V would not get into double digits until midway through the third period when Justin Kulich scored on a baseline drive.
“I felt like our defense was very good. Our pressure was good and we tried to run some things out of their offense to try to get them out of a rhythm because whenever they can get Kulich established in the post he’s hard to guard,” Witzel said. “You have to send a couple of guys down to help in the post and that allows for some kickouts, and I felt like we did a pretty good job with that the entire game.”
Kulich led the Red Devils, 7-12, with 15 points.
Gabe Owens, who had somewhat of an off-shooting night on 4-of-11 led Woodlawn with 12 points. He knocked down two 3-point buckets, collected four rebounds and had one blocked shot. Isaac, before his injury, finished with 10 points. The Cardinals improved to 19-2.
Outscoring their opponent 14-4 in the third quarter, Woodlawn used a lot of clock and showed extreme patients on the offensive end.
“It was part of our offense,” Witzel explained. “We were trying to be patient and allow the defense to break down. We had some stretches in the first half where we rushed some shots, and took some bad shots from 16- to -18-feet. To their credit, they were always in the right position defensively. The one time we ran a lot of clock on a long possession we got a good shot from Harlow and he knocked it down. That was big,” Witzel said.
Harlow’s jumper on the left side of the blocks gave Woodlawn a 33-11 lead with three minutes to go in the quarter, and the Cardinals held their largest lead of 37-13 at the end of the quarter. S-V, on the strength of three 3-point buckets in the final period got the deficit down to 14 with 3 1/2 minutes to play before each team traded baskets and then Isaac’s injury halted play.