Facing one of the top teams in Region 7-AAAAA, the Woodland girls put forth one of their best efforts of the season Wednesday at home.
A night after Rome defeated Cass by 23 points on the road, the Wolves won another road game in Bartow County — this one a 59-31 victory over the Wildcats.
“I saw a really good competitive effort,” Woodland coach Kyle Morgan said. “We played extremely hard. They are very good, very long [and] very physical. They were able to assert their will a little bit with their physicality.
“But I was real proud of my girls. We came out; we competed.”
The Wildcats (3-10, 1-7) matched the Wolves (12-2, 4-1) shot for shot in the first quarter, trailing just 9-7 entering the second quarter.
Unrelenting pressure on defense and a bevy of second-chance points allowed Rome to slowly pull away from there, leading 28-15 at halftime and 47-22 after three. A trio of Wolves wound up in double-figures led by Tarrah Gibson’s 14.
All the while, though, Woodland continued to show progress has been made. Had this matchup came a few weeks ago, the Wildcats would have been hard-pressed to keep things close.
“We’re getting better,” Morgan said. “They were better than us tonight.
“But I like the direction we’re headed.”
Woodland’s improvement in terms of ball security mark the starkest contrast to the team’s early season struggles. Work still needs to be done, as the Wolves still enjoyed a few quick scoring bursts off consecutive turnovers.
“We are doing a good job individually of making better decisions,” Morgan said. “The young ladies are getting to their correct spots to help relieve pressure.
“We’ve still got to work on meeting our passes and ball-faking. I thought we left four, five or six layups on the backend.”
While Woodland, which received eight points apiece from Madgie Robinson and Carli Clymer, continually missed close-range shots, some uncontested and others under duress, Rome feasted around the basket. At least half of the team’s made field goals came off putbacks with several coming off multiple offensive rebounds.
“They didn’t hit but two shots outside the paint all game,” Morgan said. “If you limit their ability to offensive rebound and get easy points in transition on turnovers, it’s a very competitive game.
“However, we were unable to do that.”
As encouraging as Wednesday’s performance was, especially after Woodland traveled to Kell the night before, things don’t get any easier schedule-wise with No. 9 Carrollton visiting Saturday.
“That will be another tough test for our kids,” Morgan said. “Hopefully, we’ll come out and give the effort we gave tonight and try to compete against one of the best teams in the region and state.”