Woodridge girls basketball stays unbeaten in early season

Steve Batko
Woodridge senior Bella Owen drives to the basket during the Bulldogs' win at Ravenna Dec. 5.

Forging ahead in a unique season, the Woodridge girls basketball squad continues play well, defend and do what it takes to be successful.

That even equates to winning when you are not necessarily at your best during certain stretches. That’s what good clubs do.

Host Woodridge improved to 4-0 overall on the season and 3-0 in the Metro Athletic Conference with a 51-38 win over Coventry Wednesday on Senior Night.

Credit has to be given to Coventry (0-3, 0-2), which suffered 21 losses in 2019.

The Comets played their best basketball of the winter after the first quarter.

Honoring veteran seniors Olivia Woods, Layla Foster and Bella Owen, Woodridge came out sizzling on defense.

Outstanding Bulldog defense, which has only allowed 36.8 points a game, led the hosts to a huge lead early on.

“Our defense was tremendous and got us off to a really nice run early,” pointed out head coach Chris Nauer. “Coventry battled and hit some threes and got some offensive boards.

“I think the second half has been a little tough for us in the past couple of games, but we found a way to pull out a nice win,” added Nauer.

Thanks to a theft and a layup by the active Foster, Woodridge sped to a 10-0 lead.

Then promising sophomore forward Anna Rorrer snagged a defensive rebound, went coast to coast the entire distance of the court, and converted a layup for two of her nine first half points. That pushed it to 14-0.

Woods and sophomore guard Leah Mencer then had back-to-back layups as Woodridge stormed to an 18-0 lead with 1:30 left in the first stanza that ended with an 18-2 score.

Then Woodridge sputtered a bit with some cold shooting and flow on offense, but Coventry also played a role in those struggles with its effort.

The Comets edged Woodridge 5-4 in field goals in the second period as it was 32-13 at the half.

In fact, Coventry had an 11-6 spurt in the third period as Cassidy Karakis hit a bucket to slice the lead to 38-24 at the 3:52 mark.

Woodridge had only two field goals at that point.

Woods then snatched an offensive rebound and banked it off the glass to lead to a conventional 3-point play with the free throw with 47.3 seconds left in the third. It gave the Bulldogs a 43-24 lead.

Canning a pair of free throws, Mencer made it a 10-0 Bulldog spurt to give her team a 45-24 lead with 30.1 ticks left in the third.

Stubborn Coventry didn’t go away.

Using a 6-0 run that spilled into the fourth quarter, the Comets trailed 45-30 with 5:01 remaining in the game.

A free throw made it a 7-0 Coventry run to cut the lead to 45-31 with 3:30 left, but Woodridge held on.

Once again, Woods was superb as she hit the offensive glass, hustled, and worked hard in the pick-and-roll game.

Woods scored game highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds. The 5-foot-10 workhorse snared six offensive boards and had two steals.

“Olivia continues to be dominating inside for us and she executed well in the half-court,” commented Nauer. “She battles each night and always works hard.”

Rorrer finished with 11 points, seven caroms, and had four steals.

“Anna is super athletic and she gets her hand on everything – that is her game,” noted the coach. “She gets steals and plays well around the rim.”

Foster had a good floor game with seven points, five rebounds, and five thefts.

“Our seniors have contributed a great deal to this program,” said Nauer. “Layla continues to be one of our primary ball handlers and did a good job.”

Mencer added six points and three feeds.

Exchange student Vianne Scheidecker was also honored along with the seniors during pre-game festivities. Scheidecker is a junior forward in the Bulldog program.

In a game filled with spurts and runs by both clubs, Woodridge responded after Ravenna erased a 21-point Bulldog lead in a league clash Dec. 5.

Thanks to a 17-1 run to end the game, the Bulldogs won 50-36 on the road.

Woodridge had a 13-6 first quarter and led comfortably at the half 27-12.

That action included a big 18-0 Bulldog run as well as a mini 6-0 spurt by the Ravens to end the first half.

However, Ravenna (0-2, 0-1) blitzed the visitors in the third period with a 16-5 advantage to slice that large lead to just four, 32-28, going into the final 8:00.

In all, Ravenna had a 29-6 spurt that spilled well into the second half.

Ravenna actually led 35-33, but Woodridge answered with the huge 17-1 run to decide the outcome.

Woods had another double-double with 14 points and 11 boards while Foster put in 11 points.

Junior post Emma Stekelenburg buried a 3-pointer and scored seven points while Rorrer (four points, 10 rebounds) and Mencer (six points) also contributed along with Owen (four points) and junior guard Izzy Best (four points).

Breanna Larkin had eight points to lead Ravenna.