By Hale Hughes
WOODVILLE—The Eagle and Lady Eagles teams battled last Friday night in the Summit with the Lady Eagles hosting Central Heights for a district game and the Eagle squad hosting Trinity. It was a great night of basketball for the whole community and had a great turnout to support the Woodville basketball program.
The third-ranked Lady Eagles took the court first and picked up right where they left off after last week’s big win over Diboll. Woodville took to the court and hung nine points on the board before Central Heights ever got on the board. Getting a fast start and a huge lead is a recipe that has worked well for head coach Troy Carrell’s club. It’s a planned attack that puts opponents behind by a bunch early and forces the opponent into desperation situations to try to keep up that typically implodes for the opposition. With a large margin, the Lady Eagles are able to rotate players in and out of the lineup to constantly have fresh legs in the game. “The highlight of the game for me was seeing how many girls we had score in the double digits tonight,” said Carrell. “We had six girls who did it and that’s a lot.” That kind of output shows what kind of depth Carrel has in his arsenal. “It goes back to our kids being unselfish and playing unselfish basketball. We move the ball well and don’t mind making that extra pass to find the open shot.” The Lady Eagles led 48-19 at half in a game that was just dominated by Woodville that was simply another one of those ‘lights out’ performances that ended with a final score of 84-41.
Jordan Beaty led the Lady Eagles with 19 points and Telia Jackson had 15. Shannon Whitehead was great beyond the arc and added 13 while Jayda Arumon and Shayla Williams each added a dozen points each. Kayla Merchant added 11 to close out the double-digit scorers for the Lady Eagles.
The varsity Eagles took the court immediately after and found themselves toe to toe much of the contest as they hosted the visiting Trinity Tigers. Both teams showed the ability move quick and showed off speed early with both teams trading fast breaks early before settling into their offenses. Trinity held a slim lead after the first period, 22-18. The Eagles battled back during the second period and tied the game 32-32 as both teams headed in for halftime. Head coach Justin Havard had two players who scored in the double digits for the Eagles. “DaMichael Brooks finished with 15 points,” said Havard. “He’s a great kid all the way around and gives you all he has. You know what to expect from him and a majority of his points tonight were from drives to the basket.” Havard also spoke about how much the Eagles have worked to reduce the number of turnovers this year. “Turning the ball over has been a problem for us in the past and it’s something we’ve worked really hard on this year from a coaching standpoint. We’ve done a lot better this season, but some of that crept back in during this game and at critical times. Controlling the ball is something we will have to continue to work on,” said Havard.
Havard also praised the play of senior Kobe Adams. “Kobe played a good game,” he said. “He got into some foul trouble and only played a couple minutes in the third period, but he was able to get 14 points for us tonight. He is a big physical kid and he is one that I will continue to go to. He’s another player that will give you everything he’s got.”
Woodville outplayed and outscored the Tigers in the second and third periods but in the end, Trinity made one more play than the Eagles late in the game and that was the difference as Trinity won 66-64. “With nineteen seconds left, we had the ball and we don’t have to take a shot. The safe play was to just go to overtime. We pushed the envelope and took a chance at the win but missed the shot and didn’t block out very well,” Havard explained. In closing, Havard pointed out a single issue with this game for his Eagle squad. “They out rebounded us on the boards. Our boys are working. They are hustling and getting all over the court, but we’re not getting bodies down in the paint and contesting rebounds enough. It’s difficult when they are getting two or three looks and chances at their backboard and we only get one at it,” Havard concluded.