Woodland comes from behind, knocks off Lady Tigers, 58-53
by David Royal
Dec 17, 2013 | 510 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adairsville scratched its way out to a 15-point first-half lead but Woodland outscored it by 20 points in the second half and claimed a 58-53 victory in the opening round of the Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival on Monday.

The Lady Wildcats advanced to the second round of the basketball tournament with the win and play Model on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Cage Center on the Berry College campus. Adairsville plays either Coosa or Pepperell today at 4 p.m. at Georgia Highlands.

Woodland coach Kyle Morgan saluted the second-half effort by the Lady Wildcats.

“We had a hard time scoring for a while there in the first half,” Morgan said. “[In the second half] we were able to get some easy ones with our defense and made some shots. We got a little momentum going.

“I was real proud of the girls. They could have [gone] into a shell and not even tried to fight, but we came out and got back in the game slowly and at the end had a chance to win and were lucky enough to do that.”

Adairsville head coach Meridith Barnhill also saluted that effort.

“I don’t think in the first half, even though we got that lead, that we got into a rhythm and played as well as we’ve been playing,” she said. “We were not very fluid.

“In the second half [Woodland] kept after us on defense and put a lot of pressure on us and then they hit some shots in the second half that they hadn’t been making in the first half. I credit Woodland for not letting getting down. They crawled back into it.”

Mallorie Collum starting the scoring as her bucket gave Adairsville an early lead, but Ayrianna Metcalf responded with a 2-pointer to knot the game at 2-all, and Paige Cole gave the Lady Tigers a 4-2 lead with her bucket.

Woodland used two free throws by Marissa Dubose, and buckets by Julia Roberson and Kelsy Hice to push their point total to eight while a bucket by Stephanie Kuhrt gave Adairville six.

The Lady Tigers then went on an 11-2 run, with five points from Roberson, two points from Collum, three from Kuhrt and a free throw from Hice, to close the quarter with a 17-10 lead. Woodland missed its final six shots from the field the rest of the quarter and managed just two points on foul shots.

Adairsville scored 12 points in the second frame as Kuhrt paved the way with seven. Woodland was held to four points during the second period and trailed 29-14 at the break.

Woodland opened the third quarter with an 11-6 run and closed to 35-25 with 2:14 left. Sydney Boyd made a 3-point play the old-fashioned way and started a 9-5 run that helped the Lady Wildcats pull to 40-34 after three full quarters of play. Katie Harris and Aubri Branch each contributed five points in the quarter, during which Woodland made up all but six points of its 15-point deficit.

It took Woodland just over four minutes to climb back into a 50-50 tie with Adairsville in the final quarter. The Lady Wildcats surged into the lead when Branch stole the ball from an Adairsville guard and sped downcourt to make their go ahead layup at the 2:53 mark.

Metcalf stole the next possession as well and her layup put Woodland up 54-50. Woodland got a third consecutive steal the next play but couldn’t close the deal and Adairsville’s Collum answered with a bucket and a foul shot the Lady Tigers’ next possession and pulled her team to 54-53.

Woodland responded with four unanswered points to close the game behind one free throw by Branch and three by Dubose.

Barnhill said Collum came up big in the second half of the contest, scoring 14 of her game-high 18 points.

“Mallorie scored most of our points in the second half but we just didn’t score enough as a team to win,” she said.

Also scoring in double figures for Adairsville were Kuhrt, with 13, and Roberson, 10.

Woodland was led in scoring by Dubose, 13. Others scoring in double figures were Brooke Hummel, 10; and Branch, 5.