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Wildcats come up just short against Wolves

Basketball rims are notorious for giving friendly rolls to the hometown team. For some reason, the cylinders at Woodland High School didn’t get the memo.

Over the final eight minutes Wednesday, several high-percentage shots rolled out for the Wildcats. On the other end, Rome benefited from some kind bounces on the front-end of two one-and-one opportunities.

Thanks in part to those fickle rims, Woodland slumped to a 61-55 defeat to Rome in Region 7-AAAAA action after entering the final period all tied up.

“We missed a lot of easy shots,” Wildcats coach Colman Roberts said two separate times in a postgame interview.

Shots were falling consistently for both teams in the first quarter.

Rome (5-5, 2-2) jumped out to a sizable early lead before Woodland (3-12, 1-7) pulled within 20-16. A pair of Hunter Johnson 3-pointers kept the Wildcats in the game.

The Wolves enjoyed another four-point advantage in the second quarter, allowing them to take a 36-28 lead into the locker room.

Despite a tendency to struggle coming out to start the second half, Woodland dominated the third quarter. The Wildcats doubled up the visitors with Johnson — who posted a team-high 15 points, including four triples — and Connor Gallagher, who had 11 points, each posting six points in the period.

“We came out and outscored them 16-8 in the third quarter, which was huge,” Roberts said. “Then they beat us 17-11 in the fourth quarter.

“We have to play four quarters. I know everybody says that.”

After Rome, which was led by Caleb Byrd’s 15 points, scored the first few points of the final stanza, Woodland had plenty of chances to stay within one possession. However, the ball just refused to go in the basket.

Even after having played 15 games, Roberts said he’s still looking for his optimum lineup. Although, he definitely knows what he wants out of the group.

“We’ve got to have something that gets us going,” Roberts said. “We’re not big, but we’re fast and athletic. Defense and transition scoring is what we have to do. ...

“We need everybody to step up. When they’re called, let’s go. Sometimes we don’t have that.”

The Wildcats’ next opportunity to have “that” will come Saturday afternoon when Carrollton comes to town. It provides another chance for Woodland to get back in the win column, something that appears to be coming sooner rather than later, if Wednesday was any indication.

“I told them before we left, I think we’re getting better,” Roberts said. “We’re playing close games. I’m not accepting losing, but we’re getting better [and] not getting blown out.

“We’re playing good teams every night we play.”

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