Junior Trey Williams scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half as the War Eagles rallied after halftime for their third straight win against Riverwood, a 61-54 victory at Union Grove High School last Thursday.
“I think as a team in the second half we just decided we had to bring more energy and more effort,” Woodward boys’ basketball coach Anthony Thomas said. “I don’t know if it was the break or what it was in the first half but we just didn’t look like ourselves.”
With the win and their sixth straight victory, Woodward improved to 8-2 overall.
Johnathan Goodson scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half, helping the Raiders build a lead as large as 11 points.
“Goodson was a load,” Thomas said. “The kid can go. He was athletic and a tough matchup for us.”
After falling behind by double digits early in the third quarter, Woodward put together a quick 7-0 burst to move within single digits for good. With 3:03 left in the frame, a basket by Williams pulled the War Eagles even at 35-35. Woodward would briefly claim a four-point lead before entering the final period tied at 41.
Then with eight minutes to go, the War Eagles turned up their defensive pressure a little more, resulting in a 10-0 run to start the frame. Christian Harrison’s two-handed breakaway dunk and Williams’ three-point play highlighted the surge, thanks to steals by Corey Hicks and Benjamin Russell, respectively on each possession.
“Our best offense is our defense,” Thomas said. “If we force a lot of turnovers we can get out in transition. Our guys love to play in transition and that’s where we can be effective.”
The War Eagles would remain ahead by more than a possession until the Raiders closed to 56-54 with 55 seconds remaining. But Russell would nail two free throws 15 second later to push the lead back to four, and Harrison, Hicks and Williams would each split a pair to seal the win.
Senior Solomon Mangham had nine points off the bench.
The War Eagles capped the tournament with wins over Woodland-Henry and Monticello.