The Panthers escaped with a 66-62 victory, snapping Ascension Catholic's three-game winning streak.
On Thursday night, Ascension Catholic was on the cusp of pulling off an upset over a Class 5A squad at home. Late in the third quarter, they led by 11.
But in the final period, they became their own worst enemy. Crucial mistakes by the Bulldogs down the stretch allowed Woodlawn to claw their way back into the game.
And in the end, the Panthers escaped with a 66-62 victory, snapping Ascension Catholic’s three-game winning streak.
“The difference in the fourth quarter were turnovers,” Bulldog head coach Kylon Green said. “But that’s a 24-win 5A team. I’m proud of the fight from my guys; I’m just not proud of the execution. We had far too many turnovers down the stretch against a team that has been winning all year.
“They beat a good McKinley team the other night. They play in a good district, and they’ve been playing competitive basketball all year. I’m happy with how we came out and played, but turnovers cost us this win.”
It was Ascension Catholic that had to fight back early on. Woodlawn jumped all over them to start the game, running out to a 16-4 lead. They were up 20-9 after one.
The Bulldogs were able to make up some ground in the second. A four-point play by Jack Abadie cut the deficit to seven.
Later, a steal and layup by Demarco Harry got them as close as five. At the break, they trailed, 33-26.
But the third quarter belonged to Ascension Catholic. They opened the period with a 20-5 run. Much of that onslaught was carried out by Harry.
He hit two 3-pointers, and he also came up with a steal that he converted into a layup. Troy Cole also hit two treys in the quarter.
A bucket down low by Nick Hilliard gave Ascension Catholic an 11-point lead.
They were up, 52-44, heading into the fourth. They outscored Woodlawn, 26-11, in the third quarter.
But the final period belonged to the Panthers. They began the quarter with a 16-3 run.
A bucket down low by Carl Owens tied the game. Clayton Adams then came up with a steal and made two free throws on the other end to give the lead back to Woodlawn.
Later, with Ascension Catholic down by three, Harry drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game, but on the other end, Adams made a bucket down low with just 10 seconds remaining.
Down two in the waning seconds, Cole threw up a contested 3-pointer, but it was off the mark, allowing the Panthers to hold on to the victory.
After a slow first quarter, the scoring really picked up for Ascension Catholic. Harry scored 21 in the final three periods. Cole scored 13 in that same time span.
Abadie chipped in with 11.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 17-12 overall. Seven of their 12 losses have come against upper-classification teams.
“I think it’s beneficial to us. If anything, we’re battle-tested,” Green said. “Being in these kinds of dog fights gets us ready for the playoffs, but at the same time, these are games that we should be winning. We have to execute better. We have to be able to take care of the ball down the stretch.”