Woodland (7-19 overall) advances in the tournament to play Division B No. 1 seed Jonesboro (20-4) today at 7 p.m. at Woodland High School in a state-qualifying game. Griffin’s season ends with a 12-13 record.
It looked like Griffin would run away with this game from the start. The Bears jumped on Woodland quickly, rolling to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter as their ball pressure bothered the Wolfpack into turnovers and missed shots. If it wasn’t for a 3-pointer from Woodland’s Finche Kelly at the first-quarter buzzer, the Wolfpack would’ve been shutout in the quarter.
Griffin’s ball pressure still worked on Woodland early in the second, but the Wolfpack finally started hitting shots while the Bears went through their usual second-quarter scoring drought. The Bears missed 6 shots while Woodland started breaking the press and getting layups to slowly chip away at the lead. Griffin led 17-16 with seconds left in the period when Woodland’s Deontae McClanahan converted a 3-point play and Woodland unbelievably led 19-17 at the half.
Woodland never relinquished the lead after that. Griffin missed shots and free throws while Woodland kept getting inside and scoring easy baskets. The young Wolfpack played like a veteran team while Griffin, which has four seniors, played like an inexperienced squad Monday night. Woodland led 33-26 after the third quarter and kept Griffin at bay in the final stanza. Griffin got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Poor shooting doomed the Bears — they were 5 of 19 from behind the 3-point arc against Woodland.
McClanahan led all scorers with 17 points and Daniel Durrett added 11 for Woodland. J.R. Ellis scored 12 points and J.T. Williams chipped in 9 for Griffin.