Heading into the fourth quarter, Woodstock only held a slim 45-44 lead.
Throughout the first 4 minutes, the sides traded baskets, with River Ridge’s Parker Nayman giving the Lady Knights (9-6) a 51-50 lead midway through the period.
That, however, proved to be the final basket River Ridge would score in the game as Woodstock (8-4), led by senior Clara Young, took over.
After going ahead on a 3-pointer by Young, baskets by McKenzie Fortson and Young provided a six-point lead.
On the other side of the court, the Lady Knights’ offense, which had just scored 18 points in the previous period, found themselves unable to find the net.
With time winding down, River Ridge was forced to foul Woodstock, and it sent Young to the free-throw line on three separate occasions in the final 3 minutes of the game.
Young hit almost every shot, going 5-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter and scoring the final eight points of the game. She finished with a game-high 24 points overall.
After watching his team compete with Woodstock for the majority of the game, River Ridge coach Jason Taylor was disheartened by the Lady Knights’ inability to close the contest out.
“We played with them totally for 29 minutes of that game, but in the last 3, we just didn’t score a basket,” Taylor said. “If you can’t put it in the basket, you can’t win. I was proud of our girls. They worked hard, but it’s difficult to keep coming up short like this.”
Woodstock coach Julie Crowe credited a switch in her team’s defensive scheme that led to the victory.
“We backed out of our press and went to a half-man defense and made them try to score in a half-court set,” Crowe said.
It looks to have worked, as River Ridge was only able to score seven points in the fourth.
Though pleased with the play of Young and Makensie Block, Crowe was concerned with the Lady Wolverines’ reliance on their senior leaders for scoring.
“We have got to have more people step up,” she said. “We only had two points come from our bench tonight.”
River Ridge’s best stretch came at the start of the second half. Down 32-28, it scored eight of the first 10 points of the third, with Nayman and Jordan Livesay leading the way.
After a first half that saw Young do much of the work for Woodstock, Block and Brianna Lakes helped the Lady Wolverines a one-point lead heading into the fourth.
Nayman finished the game with a team-high 19 points, while Livesay had 13 and Jessica Baker nine.
Block was 9-for-11 from the free-throw line with 20 points total, while Lakes finished with 10.
While River Ridge only managed to go 6-for-13 from the line, Woodstock was 22-for-28.
Woodstock 45, River Ridge 37: In what proved to be a defensive battle throughout, the Knights’ lack of offense in the second and third periods led to the Wolverines’ win.
Entering the second with an 11-9 lead, River Ridge (5-10) suddenly found itself unable to add to its total.
Though also struggling to find the net, Woodstock (6-6) scored the only six points of the first 7:59 of the period. Joel Thacker finally scored a basket with 1 second remaining to give the Knights their only points of the period.
After Woodstock extended its lead to six at the end of the third, River Ridge wasn’t able to pick its game up.
Leading Woodstock were Matt Scott and Trey Alexander, who each finished with 12 points. Chris Mowery had nine.
Leading River Ridge was Nick Masterson with 11, while Jeremy Mims scored eight and Steven Spears scored seven.