Woodrow boys avenge last year’s loss to Hurricane
HURRICANE - On Tuesday night, Woodrow Wilson found itself on the road in a place it was beaten last year, facing an unbeaten Hurricane team without two of its starters, and starting a freshman in the post in just his second career high school game.
In other words, there were plenty of reasons why the Flying Eagles could've lost, but in the face of adversity, Woodrow did everything it took to win.
Five of the seven players who saw the court scored in double figures and a 24-11 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter allowed Woodrow (2-0) to run away with an 83-66 win in an early-season Mountain State Athletic Conference showdown.
"This is a team we feel pretty good about as far as being scrappy," Woodrow Wilson coach Ron Kidd said. "They're real scrappy and they play hard every possession. They might throw the ball all over the gym but they scrap."
The Eagles were without the services of normal starters Juwan Walton and Daizjuan Fortune, but still came up with more than enough to win thanks to a solid 18-point, nine-assist night from senior point guard Andrew Johnson and quite the debut from Nequan Carrington.
The 6-foot-3 freshman scored 17 points, including eight in the first quarter and had 10 rebounds as part of a relentless swarming of the glass by Woodrow that turned out to be a huge factor, especially late.
"He's going to be extremely big-time player by the time he leaves this program," Kidd said. "He worked hard in the preseason and he's still working hard. He's first in every drill we do."
Carrington will likely have to keep up the heroics for a while as Fortune will be out 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured collarbone, rib, and finger, and Walton's return is uncertain.
The freshman's early scoring helped Woodrow jump out to a 21-11 lead after the first quarter and the deficit grew as large as 16 in the second before Hurricane's bench pulled the Redskins back within striking distance.
Leading the charge was Garrett DeFries, who scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second quarter for Hurricane after taking just one shot in the first eight minutes, allowing the Redskins (3-1) to claw to within four points at the break.
Hurricane's bench outscored its starters 35-31.
The Redskins had already picked up a pair of impressive wins on the road at Logan and at Capital to begin the year and it was tough for coach Lance Sutherland to be too disappointed considering his team's early season work even after a tough loss on Tuesday.
"I'm not disappointed we lost," Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland said. "We were in the game. About midway through the fourth quarter, we got tired and that's when it changed. The pressure came up and we got tired."
Indeed, the Redskins cut the deficit to as low as three points in the final quarter before Johnson cranked up the pressure, caused some turnovers and seemed to either score or find the open man on every possession.
"We played really good [in the fourth quarter]," Johnson said. "One of our main guys [Fortune] got hurt and we told ourselves we wanted to do it for him. That's what helped us down the stretch at the end. We really wanted it bad to win for him because we know how bad he wants to get back out on the floor and it just came down to defense in the end."
It was a bit of revenge for the Eagles, who lost at Hurricane last season and Kidd admitted that he used last year's lesson as motivation this week.
"You know I was talking about it," Kidd said. "I don't forget losses like that. I thought they outplayed us last year. They're very well coached and they're a great team but I just thought we came here last year and didn't play the way I thought we could play and they played ball. Just like I thought we played ball tonight. We just played a little bit better than them, they played hard."
Chase Hancock pitched in 16 points for Woodrow while Brent Osborne added 14 and Donte Nabors 12. Rasaan Harris scored 11 points for Hurricane, which shot just 6-for-33 on 3-pointers.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.