HS Girls Basketball: The Woodlands Squashes Willis Ahead of Competition in the Playoffs

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 02/02/2024


WILLIS, TX -- The Woodlands Lady Highlanders (21-13) secured their playoff spot with a 59-28 road victory over the Willis Ladykats (5-25) in the last game of the season.

District 13-6A’s playoff standings were rigid at the top, with the Lady War Eagles and Grizzlies locked in a heated contest for the top spot. But beneath them, the Lady Highlanders, Tigers, and Cavaliers were all vying for the final two spots between three squads.

The Lady Highlanders asserted absolute control against the Ladykats from the opening tip. A suffocating man-to-man defense generated steals that kept Willis off the board, and quick cuts to the basket led to efficient shots for points.

Frequent misses from Willis also added to the overall lack of offense from the Ladykats. No second-chance opportunities near the basket meant Willis’ shots had to be from outside or in the face of defenders, not the easy looks they needed.

The Woodlands’ combination of dominance on both sides of the ball culminated in a 17-2 first quarter. The stunned Ladykats had to figure out a solution to the oppressive gameplan shown by The Woodlands if they hoped to bring the contest closer.

A shooting explosion from both teams sparked the second quarter in contrast to the lopsided affair of the first. The Lady Highlanders continued to stretch the floor for looks behind the arch, but a more comfortable attack from Willis also saw some success.

Willis’ deficit remained large due to the continued offensive success from The Woodlands. 10 different Lady Highlanders recorded points during the first half, simultaneously growing their lead.

The Woodlands’ lead swelled to 28 points before the end of the half, and no amount of pace, passing, or defensive changes seemed to faze the team. Their demonstrative showing rewarded the team with a 37-9 lead going into the locker rooms for halftime.

After taking time to talk during the break, the teams resumed their shooting showcase to start the third.

Wise shot selections and patient offense created easy looks for the Lady Highlanders, who continued to push their established advantage. Size contributed to looks for The Woodlands, too, with second chances being a factor for the team throughout the second half.

The Lady Highlanders also transitioned their defense into a zone that put pressure on Willis guards with the ball. This change also opened the door for Ladykat shooters to find open space around the three-point line. The pure volume of shots from the Ladykats ensured some shots fell.

The effort still could not hinder the unstoppable Lady Highlanders, who exited the third quarter with a 33-point lead.

With the game effectively in hand, the final eight minutes of play served as a session to fix issues for the Lady Highlanders before the postseason.

Coach Ashley Davis and her staff looked to the bench to close out the one-sided affair, with players getting valuable experience in the last game of the regular season.

Cheers rang from The Woodlands bench supporting their teammates in the closing minutes. Seeing the players deeper on the bench contributing in meaningful ways kept the emotions positive for the team as the clock ticked toward zero.

Despite their insurmountable deficit, the Ladykats kept up their pace and pushed for more points. Steady shooting from mid-range and free throws made Willis’ effort on Senior Night a solid demonstration of the team’s willpower against adversity.

The final buzzer sounded with The Woodlands taking home a 59-28 win that sets the team in prime position for the upcoming playoffs.

The Woodlands will wait for their postseason opponent, pending some shifts in the district standings, with Conroe and College Park yet to play. Willis will end its rough final stretch of the season with a matchup against Oak Ridge on Wednesday.

Comments •
Log In to Comment