A herculean third quarter was the difference for the Woodridge boys basketball team in its 65-54 victory Dec. 20 at Portage Trail Conference Metro Division rival Field.
The Bulldogs improved to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the Metro.
The game was tied 6-6 after one quarter. Woodridge fell behind 24-19 by halftime before hanging up 33 points in the third quarter and taking a 52-40 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"We played a pretty poor first half. We didn’t show up with a lot of intensity, we didn’t show up with a lot of effort," Bulldogs head coach Ric Blevins said. "Obviously, we had to challenge the guys at halftime to come out and play a better second half.
"Field made some mistakes, we were able to capitalize on them, we made a few shots and then, once you see a shot go in, that confidence level starts to rise a little bit. We were able to get a double-digit lead going into the fourth quarter, and we were able to hang on to that through the duration. We were fortunate to get out of there with a win."
Woodridge had five players score in double figures and knocked down 10 three-point shots.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was junior shooting guard Josh Decker, who scored 14 points, including three three-pointers.
"Josh got hot a little bit there in the third quarter," said Blevins. "He made some big shots that allowed us to get over the hump."
Scoring 11 points apiece were juniors James Werts and Owen Thompson. Werts had two three-pointers and Thompson had one.
"James got the opportunity to start for the first time because our normal starter, junior Marion Hopper, was out the day before with the flu," Blevins said. "James didn’t really play that well at the beginning of the game, but in the second half he played really well. He can do a lot of things for us, and he’s a guy who is only going to get better the longer he is with us.
"I thought Owen played really well for somebody who hadn’t played probably more than three minutes at a time in our first six games. For him to step in there and play some significant minutes in the second half meant a lot to us."
Senior Kyle Mottice scored 10 points, including three three-pointers. Senior shooting guard Josh Fleming also had 10 points.
"Kyle can shoot the basketball pretty well," said the coach. "He’s been struggling with his confidence. He was one of those guys who, once he saw one shot go in, shot the ball more confidently. I’m very happy with the way he played.
"Josh brings so many intangibles to what we do that, any time he scores more than six or eight points, it’s a bonus for us. He has the ability to score, but he defends, he plays so doggone hard for us. He does anything we ask him to do. There are so many things that he does that we just can’t live without."
Senior guard Brandon Albright scored five points, including a three-pointer. With two points apiece were Hopper and sophomore power forward Christian Everly.
According to Blevins, his team has become somewhat of an underdog since it lost to Metro rival Streetsboro Dec. 13 at home.
"We’re making some changes style-wise to what we’re doing," he said. "Our guys are trying to kind of wrap their heads around it, figure out how to do it, how to make it successful. It’s still December, and we have a lot of basketball to play, and obviously we have a lot of room for improvement."
Woodridge is scheduled to host Tallmadge Saturday at 7 p.m. After the New Year, is set to travel to Metro rival Coventry Jan. 3, also at 7 p.m.