By Lannis Timmons
Woodward had lost both meetings earlier in the regular season in league play, so when you see that, a lot of times “basketball people” will say that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, well they were right, because the Bulldogs were victorious with a 58-57 overtime win.
I felt Woodward chances were pretty good, because Taft was playing without second leading scorer, and three- year starter junior Demarco Bradley Jr., but even the games that Bradley did play in, Taft two wins were close games, so I felt like the Bulldogs chances were good.
The Bulldogs Terry Durham, got going early in the first quarter, as he scored seven points, all around the basket using a number of post moves. The Senators junior Chris seon Stringer had four points in the opening quarter, he also was a force from the inside, as well as the outside. After the Bulldogs got a two-point lead, the teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter, with Woodward ahead 14-12.
As the second quarter got started, Taft look to gain the momentum as their defensive pressure started to bother the Bulldogs, creating fast break opportunities for the Senators, as they had five different players score in the quarter. Woodward’s Dre Lewis came off the bench in the middle of the quarter, and he made his presence felt immediately, as he knocks down back-to-back three-point goals to help keep the Bulldogs close, but it was the Senators who walked into the locker room ahead with the lead by two points 25-23.
This time it was the Bulldogs who came out “barking” to start the third quarter, as they went to their “bread and butter” Terry Durham, again the senior was unstoppable, as he scored eight points with a couple of face up post moves, and stick back lay-ups to help win the quarter for Woodward 14-11. During the quarter, the Senators had a balanced attack as they had five players score in the period, but they lost their two-point halftime lead losing 37-36.
Taft’s Chris seon Stringer and Woodward’s Terry Durham put on a show in the final period, but it was Stringer who scored eight points before fouling out with two minutes to go in regulation time. Deshawn Lawrence scored five points in the quarter for the Senators, and all five was when Taft was trailing, one a three pointer to help send the game into overtime. Durham finished with nine points in the quarter, doing what he’s been doing all season long, bumping and grinding in the paint and making two clutch free throws. Woodward’s guards Hakeem Thomas and Demontez Cooper did a good job of controlling the tempo, and Thomas hit a three pointer late in the period, and Cooper scored on a nice pull up jumper right outside the paint. As regulation time ran out, the scoreboard read 51-51.
The overtime saw both teams go back and forth, but it was Cooper and Durham who got the Bulldogs over the hump, but it was Hakeem Thomas who made two clutch free throws with seconds to go was the determining factor to help pull out the victory for the Bulldogs 58-57 in overtime.
Woodward will play Saturday at the UD Arena for a time and an opponent to be named.
I want to take my head off to all the coaches and players in CPS for conducting themselves with class and great sportsmanship. Great job guys and good luck to Woodward and Hughes.