The No. 1 ranked Woodward War Eagles hit nine of 14 free throws in the final four minutes to help stave off No. 4 ranked Southwest DeKalb Panthers 70-59 in Class 5A girls Elite Eight playoff action at Southwest DeKalb on Tuesday night.
The game lived up to the Top 10 battle it was with 11 lead changes over the first 19 minutes of the game until Woodward put together a 13-2 run to take a 46-36 lead with 2:52 left in the third quarter.
Sydney Bowles hit a three-pointer to give Woodward the lead at 37-34 to get the run started. Sara Lewis would add six points in the run and Bowles second three-pointer in a 1 minute, 38 second span for the 10-point advantage.
Aniyah Lee’s jumper was the lone score in the span for the Panthers (19-7). Senior Pryia Thompson gave her team a talk during a timeout and then proceeded to score nine points in the final 2:18 of the period to pull her team back within 47-46 heading into the fourth quarter.
Thompson hit a pair of free throws and Lauryn Bell drove for another basket to give Southwest DeKalb its last lead of the game at 50-49 with 6:58 to play. MacKenzie Moring’s layup put Woodward back for good with 6:46 remaining at 51-50.
Lewis would score six points in a 9-0 run for Woodward, including two free throws on an intentional foul call on Thompson who was injured on the play and followed with an offensive put back after the free throws for a 4-0 spurt in just 10 seconds to make it 60-51.
Southwest DeKalb wasn’t going away easily despite second half spark Thompson was out of the game with four fouls and trying to recover from her fall.
Taylor Christmas, Adrieanna Brownlee and Alex Jackson scored consecutive times down the floor, Jackson’s was on her steal and layup, to pull Southwest within 60-57 2:11 to play.
Thompson picked up her fifth foul in the run and had to exit the game. Woodward went to Bowles on the right wing and she drained a three-pointer and drew a foul. She hit the free throw to give Woodward a 64-57 lead with two minutes left on the clock.
Brownlee pulled the Panthers within five (64-59) with about 1:20 to play on an offensive put back, but Southwest DeKalb was forced to foul.
Brownlee hit six of eight from the line in the final 1:07 to clinch the win for the War Eagles (20-1).
Pryia Thompson finished the game with 18 points (16 in the second half) and five rebounds to lead the Panthers. Adrieanna Brownlee finished with 13 points and d 12 rebounds while Taylor Christmas contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Bowles hit for a game-high 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Lewis finished with 22 points for Woodward.
DCSD STATE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
ELITE 8 – QUARTERFINALS
Tuesday, Mar. 2
Class 5A Girls
Woodward Academy (20-1) 70, SW DeKalb (19-7) 59
Wednesday, Mar. 3
Class 4A Boys
Baldwin (14-0) at Miller Grove (15-4), 6:00 pm
Class 2A Boys
Columbia (19-6) vs. Washington Co. (16-1), 6:00 pm
Class 2A Girls
Butler (20-4) at Columbia (17-7), 2:00 pm