~ by Mac McClintock ~
The Woodland Park boys’ and girls’ basketball teams ended their seasons last week with a senior pageant and a few final games, but not much in the way of stellar victories. However, both teams exceeded their b-ball mark of a year ago and may have reached a stepping stone for a more successful program.
The lady Panthers last week found themselves on the road against Elizabeth for a well-awaited rematch.
In the first meeting between the teams, Elizabeth beat Woodland Park by a score of 45-40. But unfortunately, the rematch would not fare well for Woodland Park. The lady Panthers fell behind early in the first quarter by seven points. In the second quarter, the game really started to get away from the team, as the Cardinals were able to outscore Woodland Park by 13 points.
In the second half Elizabeth continued to pour it on, scoring 21 points in the third quarter alone. It was not until the fourth quarter that the Cardinals started to slow down. The final score of the game was 62-24 in favor of Elizabeth.
The boys’ team, meanwhile, faced their final home game against Elizabeth. Before the game, there was great pageantry, celebrating the seniors on the team. It was quite a display.
Unfortunately for Woodland Park, this would become the only positive highlight of the game. The contest quickly got out of hand for Woodland Park, as Elizabeth scored 21 points in the first quarter, while they were held to a mere six points. Things did not go much better in the second quarter, as once again, the Panthers could get nothing going on offense and continued to let Elizabeth score at will. The score at halftime was 36-14 in favor of Elizabeth. In the second half, the team tried to rally back on offense. But unfortunately, they couldn’t stop Elizabeth’s offensive onslaught. The final score was 72-43 in favor of Elizabeth. The boys’ team finished with an overall record of 6-17, and a league record of 1-15.
The last Woodland Park b-ball game of the season was a girls’ game at home against Harrison, and it was a thriller.
In the first meeting, the Woodland Park girls’ team lost a close game by a score of 43-39, so this had the makings of an entertaining contest. The game started off really slow, as It seemed like neither team could get anything going offensively. This trend continued for almost the entire first half. Harrison was able to take a slight three point lead into halftime, edging ahead of the Panthers by a 14-11 margin. The second half though was anything but boring.
In the third quarter Woodland Park started to rally back and succeeded in cutting their deficit with better shot-making. Going into the fourth quarter, the score was 29-28 Harrison. Then Woodland Park would streak to a nine-to-three run on the court, and take a 37-32 lead. Harrison, though, would rally back and only trail by three points. In the final minute Harrison got into foul trouble, but the Panthers couldn’t make a free throw to finish the game off. Harrison got the ball back with 15 seconds left, and with three seconds left, threw up a deep three-point shot. At first, it looked like the ball was going to swish through the net successfully, but then at the last second the ball bounced out and Woodland Park would hold on to win. Harrison, before the buzzer, fouled junior Natalie Graber who then made two free throws, making the final score 39-34 in favor of Woodland Park.
With this thrilling victory, the lady Panthers finished the season with a record of 7-16 and 3-13 in league play. Looking back at the Woodland Park basketball season, it’s hard to evaluate the teams’ respective performances.
Both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams did improve from their record of 2015/2016, but neither team gained a reputation as exactly “world beaters” on the b-ball court. So maybe this year can be regarded as a stepping stone to a better tomorrow. And isn’t that what all sports’ teams really want, a better tomorrow.