By the standards of this season, last week was a "downer" of a week for the Woodridge boys basketball team.

The Bulldogs won their two games by "just" three and five points, respectively.

Considering they have breezed to lopsided victories by at least 20 points the previous four games for most of the season, their 69-66 overtime triumph Jan. 20 at home over Streetsboro and their 55-50 win Jan. 24 over visiting Crestwood might have been just what the doctor ordered.

Woodridge was tested big time and passed both exams with flying colors.

Woodridge took a 15-0 overall record, and a 9-0 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division mark, into a home game Jan. 27 with Metro Division rival Cloverleaf. Results were not available at press time.

The win over division rival Streetsboro was, quite simply, a backyard brawl between two evenly-matched teams.

"When we play Streetsboro, you can pretty much throw out the records," said Woodridge head coach Ric Blevins. "You're gonna get a battle, and we knew that. They outplayed us for almost three quarters, but kind of like my kids have done this season, they found a way when it mattered."

Woodridge trailed 23-21 after one quarter and 34-27 at halftime. The Bulldogs were down by 13 points at one stage of the third quarter, prompting Blevins to make some changes.

"We didn't really have a choice but to amp up our pressure and make a couple of adjustments defensively," he said. "So we gambled a little bit and it worked."

The home team pulled to within five points at 48-43 after three quarters. It was 56-56 after regulation.

"We played a really good fourth quarter to push it to overtime," Blevins said. "We had to hold Streetsboro the last 12 seconds of the fourth and came up with a very good defensive stand to do that. In overtime we were able to get up a few points, and we made enough plays to make the lead stand."

Woodridge junior guard Mason Lydic scored 26 points, including three 3-pointers.

"We're putting a lot of miles on Mason right now, but it doesn't really seem to be too much for him to handle," said the coach. "That kid doesn't back away from a challenge, there's no doubt about that."

Senior guard Preston Clark scored 18 points, including two 3-pointers.

"Preston played really well," Blevins said. "He's the beneficiary of Mason playing really well, because the opposition has to get help defensively from somewhere, and when they leave Preston open he's been making teams pay for it. When he gets the ball and his feet are set, he's a pretty doggone good shooter."

Senior center Aaron Jones was a force underneath with 12 points and six rebounds.

In the win over Crestwood, a PTC County Division foe, Woodridge led 15-10 after one quarter but found itself tied at 26 by halftime.

"Crestwood played harder than we did in the first half, and even though their best player spent a lot of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, they took the fight to us," said Blevins, whose team put it together and led 46-39 after three quarters before hanging on for the win. "We were able to find a little more effort and dig a little deeper and were fortunate to pull it out."

Lydic led the way with 27 points, including four 3-pointers.

Clark scored 8 points and sophomore post player Elijah Arnett had 6 points.

"Elijah came in and played some big minutes for us in the first half when senior forward Marlon King was in foul trouble," Blevins said. "He did a super job for us. He was very active on the glass. He's a kid who probably deserves to play a few more minutes than he is, but he seems to be taking everything in stride really well."

King scored 6 points. Jones had 5 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.

Sophomore point guard D.J. Snyder scored 2 points and, although senior point guard Sharif Howard tallied just a single point, he was a huge contributor.

"It didn't show up necessarily in the scorebook, but Sharif played his best game of the season," said the coach. "He was a very calming influence on our offense and kept us focused."

Woodridge is scheduled to play at Metro Division rival Field Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. The Bulldogs are scheduled to host Coventry, another division foe, Feb. 3, also at 7:30 p.m.


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