Walbrook shows playoff form, beats Woodlawn

March 01, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

After back-to-back losses to start the season, Walbrook coach Pete Connally vowed that his team would be ready to contend come playoff time.

Last night, in the opening round of the Class 4A, North regionals against host Woodlawn, the Warriors fulfilled his prophecy.

Junior Dashawn Coleman scored a game-high 27 points -- including 10 in the fourth quarter -- to lead the fifth-seeded Warriors over host and fourth-seeded Woodlawn, 58-55.

"Our goal has always been to make the playoffs, and we've done that," said Connally, whose team opened the season with losses to Northwestern and Lake Clifton. "I said we'd be a better team, and I think this shows that we definitely are."

The win advances Walbrook (12-6) to tomorrow's 7 p.m. regional semifinal at top-seeded Western -- a team it has lost to by a combined 98 points in two meetings this season.

For Connally, however, just getting that far is an accomplishment.

Led by 5-foot-2 guard Anika Lee (25 points), Woodlawn (13-6) gave Walbrook a stern test right down to the final seconds, and trailed by just one point -- 54-53 -- with 1 minute, 59 seconds to play.

Down the stretch, it was Coleman who made the difference.

First, the 5-foot-6 guard scored on a layup through traffic to give Walbrook a 56-53 lead with just over a minute to go. Then, she hit a pair of foul shots with 41 seconds left that kept the lead at three, and stole an inbounds past to deny Woodlawn of its final chance to tie.

Coleman said that Woodlawn's high level of play surprised many of Walbrook's players, who may have been expecting an easier game.

"I didn't think the competition would be so good," said Coleman. "They really came out to play."

The game was tied seven times in the second half, the last of which was a result of Cassandra Massie's put-back shot that made it 50-50 with 3:26 to play.

Woodlawn challenged for the lead without the services of leading scorer Avareena Schools, who left the game with a sprained left ankle with under a minute to play in the first half.

After scoring 10 points in the first half, she played just 30 seconds without a point the rest of the way. For Woodlawn coach Mary Duckworth, though, it was the absence of the intangible part of her game that hurt the most.

"Her leadership was sorely missed," said Duckworth. "You could see that on some of our offensive possessions. I was surprised the game was that close with [Walbrook's] height and athletic ability."

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