Bulldogs Off the Chain

12/26/2017

The Woodward boy's basketball team is scorching hot, following a tough win at Western Hills High School where they outscored the Mustangs by 15 in the second half, ultimately winning by a score of 69-55. 

Prior to the game, Western Hills coach EJ Black talked about the preparation leading up to the game. "We play a division 1 schedule by design because we need to be battle tested to compete in the CMAC and the state tournament. If we play with discipline and patience, I like our chances tonight." 

Coach Black also referenced the great season Woodward's frontcourt (specifically Terry Durham - SR) has had to this point. "We know Terry is a force. We don't expect to lock him up but we'll look to contain him in order to slow him down."

Western Hills came into the contest with a top five rebounder in the CMAC on their side. Tyran Sanders (SR) has been a force on the offensive glass and is also top five in FG% throughout the CMAC. 

As for Woodward, the Bulldogs came into the night winners of their last five games, and were looking to stay undefeated in conference play. 

Coach Jarelle Redden shared the importance of taking things one game at a time. In addition, he made it clear that stand-out point guard, Demontez Cooper (SR) has been the "engine and heart" of the team. "That's my point guard! When he's going, we are very confident."

Coach Redden also spoke to the dominating season that Durham has had to this point. At the end of the day, he was sure that if the Bulldogs played their game, they had a chance to come out on top. 

The game started with a two-handed dunk from Western Hills' Kemon Morris (SR), which got the crowd at Western Hills High School into the game immediately. The atmosphere in the gym screamed rivalry, and the kids were feeding into it as the team's traded buckets. At the end of the first quarter, Woodward held a 19-16 lead. 

In the second quarter, defense intensified as both teams combined to score just 18 points. Western Hills would take a 27-26 lead into the intermission. Rebounding seemed to be the difference at the break as the Stangs held the advantage with 21 boards over Woodward's 10.

As both teams made halftime adjustments, one player stepped up to help determine the outcome of the game.

DEMONTEZ COOPER.

Just as coach Redden told us before the game, when Cooper is hot, the team responds. In the third quarter, Cooper had a sequence in which he converted a 4-point play. Then, two possessions later he took an isolation at the top of the key. Cross, behind the back, tight spin, fade-away. NYLON.

As the crowd took a moment to process what just happened, Woodward stole the ball back and Cooper went coast-to-coast, finishing an acrobatic lay-up with the foul. AND-ONE.

At this point, Woodward separated themselves from the Mustangs and went into the fourth quarter up 46-35. 

The Mustangs kept themselves in the game throughout the fourth quarter with some huge corner threes from Kevin Singleton (JR) off some spectacular assists from Gregory Marsh (SR), but ultimately it wasn't enough to shut down the Bulldogs. 

Cooper would finish the game with 18 points and 5 assists. Not to be lost in the mix, Terry Durham finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. It's also worth noting that Woodward had four starters with 13+ points as they took advantage of points off turnovers, outscoring Western Hills 21-11 in that category. 

After the game, we asked coach Redden what he told his team at halftime. "I told Demontez Cooper to shoot the ball." Clearly, the strategy worked as Cooper was absolutely dominant throughout the second frame.

When asked about his flashy third quarter performance, Cooper simply stated that they were all things he works on with coach during practice. "We work on all these things. When the timing and rhythm come together, we just started clicking."

Cooper also gave credit to his teammates. "When four starts get to double digits, we put ourselves in a great position to do great things." 

Woodward gets back in action against Taft at Woodward High School on Saturday at 7:30 pm in what's to be one of the biggest CMAC match-ups yet. 

Western Hills will look to rebound after a tough stretch of games against Indianapolis Broad Ripple on Saturday at 2:00 pm.