Woodson Grabs Emotional OT Win

in 6A-North Region Tournament Semis:
Final - - #2 W.T. Woodson 63,
#1 Herndon 62 (OT)

background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Cavs Win Wild One:
style=> Youthful exuberance.
style=> That's the way W.T. Woodson Head Basketball
Coach Doug Craig summed up what
happened in the closing moments of his team's thrilling 63-62 overtime win over
Concorde Conference Champion Herndon to cap what has been a trying week for the
students at his school.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Herndon's a great basketball team with really good
players that play hard. Our kids showed
a lot of mental courage tonight and played their buts off," stated Craig.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Woodson community and student body have been coping
with the loss of two students that passed away.
His players didn't learn of the second passing until after the games from
their passionate, loyal student section referred to as 'The Cavalry.'

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Ahead 62-59 late in overtime, Woodson fouled Herndon
senior Brandon Alston (Lehigh) on a
three-point shot with two seconds remaining.
Alston hit the first two before missing the last one, which Woodson
rebounded and was immediately fouled.
With the game seemingly over - - or so they thought - - fans of the
Cavaliers rushed the court to celebrate.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>But 0.4 seconds remained, after the referees huddled, a
Technical Foul was issued on the Woodson bench for the fans storming the court.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"By the book, I guess it's a technical foul.
style=> I kind of thought they should've used
discretion in that situation, but it's a rule and it is what it is," Craig
said. "It was a tough situation for us,
but luckily the basketball gods were shining on us and it didn't end up
deciding the game."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>That gave Herndon another chance to win or potentially send
the game to a second overtime. After
Woodson split a pair of foul shots to push their lead up to 63-61, Herndon's
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Dorian Johnson went to the charity
stripe, sinking the first. His second
attempt was off the mark.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>However, the Hornets still had a shot to win if they
could convert a lob near the rim. They were
unable to pull off a bucket at the horn, allowing W.T. Woodson and its fans to
breathe a huge sigh of relief.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We're talking about 16 and 17 year old kids who have
been in a tough spot this week reacting with sheer emotion and it was one of
those things where they thought the game was over.
style=> The Cavalry has been behind us for so many
years and have helped us out of so many tough spots that the least we could is
bail them back out and find a way to win the game," Craig remarked afterwards.

mso-highlight:yellow'>Star in Defeat:
Finishing with a game-high 23 points was the aforementioned Alston,
a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who Hornets sideline boss
normal'>Gary Hall coached at Middleburg Academy when he was a freshman.
style=> Midway through this season, Alston
transferred to Herndon from Life Centry Academy in
Burlington, New Jersey.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In the two playoff games prior to Friday night, Alston
scored just nine points and didn't get to the foul line once.
style=> This time, he was a factor by consistently
driving into the paint, scoring 11 points in the first half as Herndon built a
26-22 advantage.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Alston definitely showed why he's a Division I player,"
Craig commented.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Fortunately for Woodson, they survived a 13-for-26
night from the foul line by Herndon that included Alston going 5-of-10.

mso-highlight:yellow'>Senior Rises to the Occasion:
style=> All year long, the star of the show for
Woodson has been junior point guard Eric
Bowles, twice named the Patriot District (or know more appropriately known
as the Patriot Conference) Player of the Year.
Earlier this season, he got in foul trouble in a 73-65 loss to the
Hornets. The same happened in this game
as he was whistled for two early fouls.
That meant some of the offensive load fell on the shoulders of others.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Bowles ended up leading the Cavs in points with 14, but
giving a surprising spark with a career-high 13 points was senior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Michael Szabo.
style=> On the night, Szabo
hit four three-pointers, none bigger than his two back-to-back with under four
minutes to play in the fourth quarter that put Woodson ahead
50-45 when they were trailing by a point.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"He played like a senior.
style=> When you go on the road like this, sometimes
you need a guy that will step up and make some shots for you," Craig noted.
style=> "Those guys work so hard in practice and we
always stress to them to stay ready.
Tonight was Michael's night to step up and he really came up big for us."

mso-highlight:yellow'>Junior Making Noise:
style=> Szabo wasn't
the only sparkplug the Cavs got offensively.
Junior guard Trey Johnson gave
the team a lift off the bench with his aggressiveness and penetration via the
dribble, effectively using his athleticism to get to the foul line.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'> "I thought we
got a really good game out of Trey Johnson and he played well for us," Craig

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Johnson scored 11 points and was 7-of-12 at the foul

mso-highlight:yellow'>Board Work:
All Championship teams can use a couple of guys that do the dirty
work. For Woodson in their win over
Herndon, those individuals were 6-foot-4 seniors
normal'>Andy Stynchula and
normal'>Jimmy McLaughlin. They
finished with 13 rebounds apiece, aiding the Cavaliers greatly in
out-rebounding the Hornets 49-33 for the contest.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"That was the one stat that was telling I felt.
style=> I don't think a lot of people would've
expected that prior to the game being that they're probably a little more
athletic of a team than we are. But we
really dominated on the glass," Craig pointed out.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They didn't score a ton of points, but they both
controlled the backboards and we were able to keep them pretty much to one and
done. That was one of our keys
defensively to try to build a wall under the basket because they're a team that
thrives on getting second shots."

mso-highlight:yellow'>Fourth Shot at the Bruins:
style=> One team has had W.T. Woodson's numbers
this season and that is Lake Braddock.
Coach Brian Metress'
Bruins check in at 23-3 overall and riding a 13-game winning streak that
included a comfortable 78-61 win over South Lakes in
the other 6A-North Region Tournament semifinal.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Woodson's three losses to Lake Braddock on the campaign
have been by a total of eight points.
Last year, Woodson rallied from 19 down in the fourth quarter to force
overtime and beat Wakefield, 75-70 in the Northern Region Championship.
style=> It might take an even strong performance to
outlast Lake Braddock.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They're really good, very well-coached, very good
players, run a good system and they're a good team," admitted Craig.
style=> "We're going to have to play well, re-charge
the emotional, play hard and battle against a big, physical team.
style=> We've been in position to win each of the
three games and didn't finish it out. Hopefully,
we'll be able to put ourselves in position to close it out this time."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Regardless of the outcome in the fourth meeting, Craig
is happy that his team is headed back to the State Playoffs for a second
consecutive year and knows ultimately that their Final Four game with either
the 6A-South Champion Colonial Forge or runner-up Landstown
is going to determine whether or not they play in the State Championship.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I told everybody before the season that we might
struggle early in the year, but by the end of the year I thought we were going
to be a really good team," he reminded. "I
think that's kind of played its way out because this was a really good team we
just beat."



115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
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Network. Check out
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To contact Matthew, please e-mail
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