HS Girls Basketball: Lady Highlanders Squeak Past College Park in Comeback Win

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 12/18/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The Woodlands Lady Highlanders (10-9) came back against the rival College Park Lady Cavs (11-9) 62-57 in an afternoon edition of The War of the Woods.

The midday start might have hindered some teams by disrupting their game-time rhythms, but neither of the squads demonstrated signs of off-production early.

College Park made the first significant pull-away during the first quarter. A dominant inside presence for the Lady Cavs pushed them ahead by as much as 11 as the Lady Highlanders scrambled to stop the inside dominance.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Woodlands Head Coach Ashley Davis spoke on how her team responded to the Lady Cavs’ inside pressure.

“We had to focus on rebounding and boxing out,” said Davis. “That was our game plan because we knew [College Park] does a really good job of husting and trying to get to the board.”

A Woodlands timeout hoped to remedy the situation, but a guard-heavy switch from College Park transitioned the team to a spread attack. Shooters worked around the three-point line and applied rapid pressure on defense to limit the Lady Highlanders’ possessions.

Even with shots drying up near the end of the first, the Lady Highlanders failed to cut College Park’s lead down before time expired on a lopsided 20-9 open.

It took almost two complete minutes of play for the first basket of the second quarter to fall due to the increased defensive pressure of both teams. But a stepback three from the Lady Highlanders jumpstarted the scoring for the quarter.

“We started believing in our skills,” said Davis on her team’s changes going into the second quarter. “It came down to us being unselfish and trying to keep the ball moving.”

Both teams combined for 30 points in a scoring flurry, resulting in The Woodlands cutting into the lead. College Park’s double-digit lead had shrunk to six with four minutes left in the half due to more transition baskets for the Lady Highlanders.

The Lady Highlanders continued to slowly chip away at College Park’s lead for the remainder of the first half, eventually getting it down to five. This difference lasted until the end of the half, with the Lady Cavs up 32-27.

The halftime break slowed the scoring for the second time, as neither team scored any points for the first two and a half minutes.

A slower pace benefited the Lady Highlanders. Methodical possessions and College Park’s foul trouble brought the game within two points of tying as the third quarter continued to tick. A Woodlands three-pointer gave the team a momentary lead before College Park quickly reclaimed it.

The remainder of the third quarter saw both teams trade the lead with each other, ultimately ending the affair with the Lady Cavs in front 51-45. The Woodlands’ continual fight and College Park’s quarter-ending momentum set a tense mood ahead of the final quarter.

“Be disciplined,” said Davis to her team ahead of the fourth quarter. “Stay locked in and do your job defensively.”

Each team sought to get the most out of their possessions in the fourth quarter. Lengthy gaps where only one team held possession defined the offensive flow as the game drew closer to its end.

The Woodlands erased the six-point deficit they had been dealt at the start of the quarter and battled to keep the game as close to a tie as possible. Their efforts were aided by misses and defensive lapses from the Lady Cavs that provided enough of an opportunity for the Lady Highlanders to seize.

With three minutes remaining, The Woodlands jumped ahead by a possession but were unable to build on it.

This nail-biting situation continued to the final minute of the game, where the Lady Highlanders held the same three-point advantage. Rather than fouling initially, the Lady Cavs went for stops on defense, getting one with 28 seconds left.

College Park’s final possession ended in a loose ball rolling into Woodlands territory, where a missed assignment and late basket gave the Lady Highlanders a comeback 62-57 win.

“I thought we did a great job, and it was the younger girls that really stepped up,” said Davis. “Hopefully, we believe in each other now, and we’ll try to ride this wave as long as we can.”

The Lady Highlanders will take a brief break before taking on George Ranch on the 27th, while College Park has to readjust before taking on Oak Ridge.

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