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WOODBURN—On a quest for the Coliseum, the Woodlan Warriors hosted both the boys and girls teams from South Adams in the first round of the ACAC tournament on Tuesday night with the Lady Warriors taking the opening game 58-41 and the Starfire men winning a nail-biter 67-66.
The boys’ contest was tight throughout with the biggest lead of the game belonging to South Adams in the first quarter when the scoreboard read 21-11. The last four minutes of the game went back and forth, but the Starfires never relinquished the lead after breaking a 49-49 tie with 5:18 left to go.
The fourth quarter started with the Starfires down 49-43 after Woodlan ended the third with a 17-9 run to take the lead.
"I think the guys on the floor knew that we just needed to stick to the game plan," SA coach Andy Brown commented after the win. "We could have easily said, 'Here we go again' when we let them come back and take the lead, but we didn't."
Stars’ senior Dustin Wanner knocked down a three-pointer to trim the deficit in half, then a few possessions later, fellow senior Scott Hoeppner knocked down a three tying the contest. The Starfires took the lead for good when Hoeppner knocked down a second straight three-pointer making it 52-49. The Warriors would not get the lead back.
The Warriors’ leading scorer Shawn McGettigan, who finished with 20, kept Woodlan close with a pair of and-ones. With a little over two minutes to go in the game, Wanner stepped in front of McGettigan for a charge shifting the momentum back to the Stars’ favor.
South Adams 41, Woodlan 58
In the girls' contest that opened up the night, Woodlan's shooters made the most of their 35 free throws making 24 points from the line, which ultimately made the difference in the game.
In a contest that featured 47 whistle-blows for fouls (29 on the Lady Stars), one foul-out, four girls with four fouls, seven girls with three fouls, and a partridge in a pear tree, it was hard for either team to get into a rhythm offensively.
"We told the girls to try and make an adjustment," SA head-man Ryan Cunningham after the loss. "I said don't stop being aggressive because if we do, the game will get out of hand really quickly. I thought we did that, but unfortunately they got most of their points from the foul line tonight."
After coming out of the first quarter up 16-9, the Lady Warriors would double up the Lady Stars' score, 14-7, to go up 30-16 at the break, but never really broke the game out of reach for SA until late in the fourth quarter when sophomore Dzejna Ahmetovic fouled out of the game at 2:30 left to play. Woodlan shot 21 of their 35 freebies in the second half to seal the game late.
"Overall the effort was great tonight," stated Cunningham. "On paper they probably expected to win by 30 or 40. They only have three or four losses and they are shooting to win the ACAC tournament but our girls battled from start to finish."
The Starfire men will travel to the Coliseum on Thursday night playing the second game against the Leo Lions, a team that handled them easily at home just a week ago. South Adams will play at 7:30 after Heritage/Bluffton in the game before.
The Lady Warriors of Woodlan will also make the trip to Fort Wayne, but the girls' tournament starts tonight with Southern Wells playing Heritage in the first game and Woodlan playing the Leo Lions who just barely made it past the Garrett Lady Railroaders.