Photo by Jerry Jackson
North Clayton guard Alley Anderson (10) tries to drive past Woodland’s Morgan Jones. North Clayton had a tough time finding room to drive against the Lady Wolfpack’s aggressive zone defense.
RIVERDALE — The Woodland Lady Wolfpack shook off a sluggish start before catching fire in the second quarter and finishing with a flurry to hold of North Clayton 55-45 in a Region 4-AAAA cross-over contest Tuesday.
It was senior leadership that Woodland coach Ashley Maddox attributed to not only this performance but also a strong start to a season with high expectations.
After trading blows with North Clayton (4-5) in a defensive first quarter, senior Lindsey Reed and freshman Zaundra Stevens combined for 12 second-quarter points to turn a 7-6 lead into a 25-13 advantage going into halftime.
The Lady Eagles traded baskets with Woodland (8-1) for the first four minutes of the third quarter, threatening on several possessions to cut the Wolfpack’s lead to single digits.
But North Clayton’s efforts were largely thwarted by Woodland’s aggressive 2-3 zone that made it hard for Lady Eagles guards Alejandra Anderson and Shunterria Gayden to penetrate the lane or find easy perimeter shots.
Anderson actually did cut the lead to nine, making it 28-19 on a jumper at the third quarter’s three minute mark.
Then came the Woodland barrage that effectively put the game out of reach.
It started with Mecca Sneed’s 3-pointer off of a North Clayton turnover. Then another steal and Reed’s driving bucket.
Morgan Jones would then capitalize on the Lady Eagle’s third straight turnover, scoring two of her 10 points on an easy lay-up. And after a North Clayton missed shot, Sneed’s second 3-pointer would cap off a 10-1 run that took less than a minute and put Woodland up 38-19 with 1:12 left in the third.
Maddox said the Lady Wolfpack’s offensive burst was just a small sample of how his team has been able to seemingly turn on its scoring prowess at will this season.
“Right now, the way we’re playing on offense, I don’t think anyone can stop us,” Maddox said. “We’ve got some good offensive firepower and my seniors Lindsey Reed and Morgan Jones are providing good leadership right now.”
Reed led Woodland with 14 points while Jones and Stevens chipped in with 10 a piece. North Clayton was paced by Anderson’s game-high 19 points while Gayden added 16.
The win was a school-record seventh straight victory for Woodland. But Maddox said the Wolfpack’s recent success was not a reason for his squad to get cocky.
“As good as our record looks, we still have a lot to learn,” Maddox said. “We’re giving up too many points on defense. We play pretty good on the perimeter but we get beat in the lanes too much. That’s something we need to work on.”
Woodland will face Riverdale on Friday and Heritage-Conyers Saturday before returning to what Maddox referred to as the region grind next week.
“We’re just trying to plow through our region,” he said. “We haven’t seen an easy team in a long time. We’ve still got a lot of challenges ahead of us.”