The race in the Baltimore County 3A/4A Conference just got a bit tighter as the Woodlawn Warriors came into Parkville's house and walked away with a 60-52 victory. The loss for Parkville was the first conference loss of the season and leaves them tied with Woodlawn, which suffered its first league loss last week against Perry Hall. Milford Mill remains the only unbeaten team in the conference, but it faces both Parkville and Woodlawn next week.
Woodlawn (17-7) jumped out to a big lead early on and led by double digits for most of the evening—then they held off a late Knights rally, led by Jamal Williams, before pulling out the hard-fought victory.
Parkville (13-6) had a tough night shooting the ball, and started the fourth quarter down by ten points. So when the offense wasn't working too well, the Knights turned up the defensive pressure to get themselves back in the ball game.
Williams caused back-to-back turnovers with a trapping defense around mid-court, and turned both steals into easy baskets at the other end, capping off six straight points to get the Knights back into the ball game at 40-36. A basket by James Milton, his first of the game with just 6:10 left to play, brought the Knights to within two, but his put-back dunk attempt, which would have tied the game, went off the rim, and so did the Parkville momentum.
Devin Wynn scored on a layup for Woodlawn to end the 8-0 Parkville run, and helped start a 8-1 Warrior run that would put the game out of reach. The Warriors were 6-6 from the foul line down the stretch and Parkville never got closer than seven.
Woodlawn coach Eric Lee knew the game would come down to the final minutes. "I told the team at halftime that even though we had a large lead it would still come down to how we handled the ball and foul shots," said Lee. '"We did get rattled a bit there in the 4th, but Devin has been our key player all year, and he stepped up and we made our foul shots."
Corey Thomas led four Woodlawn players in double figures with 18 points and 5 assists, while Devin Brown added 14 points and 7 rebounds and Wynn finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Christian Jackson scored 11 points and Jamal Arnold ended up with a game-high 11 rebounds.
The only Parkville player to finish in double figures was Williams, who had 18 points and 9 rebounds. Milton scored just 5 points, but did pull down 9 rebounds, and Dennis Hughes had a productive evening with 6 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
Parkville coach Rod Norris, who has missed some games of late due to a detached retina, was back on the bench, but still not at full capacity.
"You really want to see them take the ball and run, and tonight they died in their own blood," said Norris. "I was happy with the fight they have in them, but again our youth hurt us. We seem to struggle with the better teams—we have players that feel as though for them to play well they have to score, and that's just not the way it works."
Norris said of Milton's performance, "James doesn't usually get swarmed the way he did tonight, so he needs to learn to just kick it back it out if the shot is not there and work harder to get in better position."
Woodlawn was able to jump out to a huge lead early as they connected on 8 of their first 11 shots. After back-to-back three pointers by Thomas gave Woodlawn a 17-4 advantage, Skylar Collins answered for the Knights with two threes of his own. After one quarter of play the Warriors led 19-12.
The second quarter started slowly as neither team scored in the first 3 minutes, but after that it was all Woodlawn. They outscored Parkville 14-7 in the quarter, led by five points each from Thomas and Wynn.
Parkville started the third quarter going 0-10 from the field. However, the defense kept them in it, and when Hughes scored four straight, the lead was down to 10, which is where it would sit going into the final quarter.
Lee was pleased with the win. "This is a real quality win for us," he said. "I give a lot of praise to my kids because they came out and played well, they played hard and just kept attacking."
Up next for Parkville is Patapsco, whom they face on their home court Saturday at 3 p.m.
Correction: This story incorrectly listed the time of Saturday's game versus Patapsco High School as 7 p.m. due to a reporting error. The time has been corrected.