By Bob Jones
Special to the Daily
It was a tale of two halves.
The first half was controlled by Dutchtown and the second half dominated by Woodland. When the final horn sounded (as a 90-foot heave by Dutchtown swished through the basket at the far end), Woodland had held on for a thrilling 67-64 win at home in a Region 3A-AAAA game Friday. It was the first subregion game for each team.
In the girls game that preceded the boys thriller, the Lady Wolfpack thumped Dutchtown, 46-30.
Bulldogs head coach Bernie Farrell conceded that the team had opened the 2010-2011 season on a downbeat.
"We are struggling a bit," Farrell said before the game. "We have added seven football players to the varsity (after Dutchtown lost in the third round of the state playoffs) since last Friday. We hope to see some improvement. We did play better on Tuesday than we had in the first three games, so we hope to continue on that path and see some results over the next few games.
"Woodland is extremely well-coached and athletic, so we are going to have our hands full. I just hope we come in and play hard, play smart and take care of the basketball."
The Bulldogs rewarded Farrell with a solid first half, leading 31-22 at the break. Jalen Blye got hot in the second, scoring eight, and Dutchtown knocked down four 3s to keep the Wolfpack at arm's length. It was the Wolfpack who had a bit of trouble with the ball, losing the ball eleven times. The Bulldogs took their largest lead of 31-19 late in the second quarter.
Wolfpack head coach David Bice had this to say before the game: "I am really pleased at how well our season has gone so far in preparation for our first sub-region game with Dutchtown. We have a lot of fresh faces that have not played a lot of varsity basketball, but our team chemistry and work ethic has been good.
"Dutchtown will play very hard and very quick. We must find them in transition on defense and be able to handle pressure on offense to be successful against them."
Bice's troops rewarded him with a great second half. Woodland surged from the start of the second half, and it carried the Wolfpack to a 37-37 tie with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
But Woodland was far from out of gas. Despite Dutchtown briefly recapturing the lead at 42-41 on a Donovahn Jones 3 late in the third, the Wolfpack pushed their lead to 55-45 in the fourth, a 36-14 run over a span of 13 minutes.
Woodland then suffered through turnovers and missed free throws down the stretch and Dutchtown made it very interesting in the last minute. A Rodney Brown layup with 1.2 seconds left made the score 65-64. Cashaud Lemons made a pair of free throws, and the horn just sounded before Dutchtown released a desperation heave that swished, temporarily sending Dutchtown into celebration mode. The refs waved it off, and the Wolfpack had escaped the Bulldogs' comeback effort.
A'Darius Porter led Woodland with 25 points (11 points in the third quarter comeback), 13 rebounds and three assists. Lemons added 13. Joseph Shields led Dutchtown with 17, followed by Blye's 15, and Jones' 13. Jones also had five assists and four steals for the Bulldogs.
Woodland girls 46, Dutchtown 30
Dutchtown could muster little offense save from the free-throw line. The Lady Dogs were 16 of 26 from the line, but a miserable 6 of 37 (16 percent) from the field. Woodland outscored Dutchtown in every quarter, never leading by less than five from early in the game.
Lindsey Reed led the Lady Wolfpack with 15 points, followed by Jasmine Strozier's 9. Strozier and Reed helped Woodland dominate the rebounding battle with nine and eight, respectively.
Kivanna Kudratt led the Lady Bulldogs with 10 points, bolstered by a stellar 7 of 8 performance from the line.