Loyola staved off a late rally by Woodlawn, winning Friday’s District 1-4A finale 65-49, and in the process, the Lady Flyers probably secured themselves a first-round home playoff game next week.
Thanks to a big game from junior Amber Smith and senior Allyson Ruben, the Lady Flyers (18-12, 7-3) probably enhanced their No. 15 position in the LHSAA Class 4A power ratings.
“Playing at home in the playoffs would be a great way to cap my senior year,” said Ruben, who poured in 20 points on the night. “I knew we would win tonight because we had worked on our press-breaker all week.”
Woodlawn coach Patrick Lindsey opted not to break with tradition and started his five seniors on Senior Night, even though only one of them is a regular starter. The Lady Knights (13-13, 5-5), who needed a win to guarantee a playoff berth, didn’t make a field goal in the first quarter and never fully recovered, although they only trailed 8-1 at the end of the frame.
“Even though the playoffs were on the line, I’m a traditional guy,” Lindsey said. “We can only hope for a shot. We just didn’t step up our play overall tonight.”
With Amber Smith putting up 25 points on the night, many of them on offensive rebounds, the Lady Flyers controlled the inside. That was helped along by their ability to break the Woodlawn press, which was a mixed bag for both teams.
“We executed our press-breaker pretty well, although it gave them some momentum. But we also got some easy buckets,” Loyola coach Kyle Tanner said.
The Lady Knights trailed by 19 late in the third quarter, but Alexis Webster (14 points) got hot from behind the arc and helped her team whittle away at the deficit. Her 3-pointer with about five minutes to play cut it to 51-43, then a three-point play by Aliyah Carter moments later pulled Woodlawn within 52-46.
But Smith scored four straight points and Alex Williams closed out the game with the final six points of the contest to finish the deal.
“At one point this game started going like the previous game we had with them, when we got up, then they started hitting 3s,” said Tanner, who also got solid play from Sydney Mouser, Katherine Jones and Amy Smith. “Unlike last time, we hung on to win.”
Mary Caldwell dropped in 12 points and Brittney Kendrick added 11 for Woodlawn, which will find out on Monday if the season is extended.