Local Sports, Sports, University

Lala Woods scores 32 to lift Wheeling Park over University

MORGANTOWN — Nothing was going to keep basketball from happening at University High School on Tuesday evening as the University High School girls’ basketball team hosted the Wheeling Park Patriots.

A Monongalia County snow day nor a leaky roof kept the ball from being thrown in the air between the Hawks (4-8) and Patriots (8-2) as the visitors used a 32-point effort from Lala Woods to go home with a strong road victory 85-56.

The Patriots led by single digits at halftime, 45-37, but pulled away in the second half behind a strong offensive attack. WP junior and returning WV Gatorade Player of the Year Alexis Bordas added 25 points while shooting 8 for 13 from the field, including four triples. Park made 13 threes as a team.

The Hawks were led in scoring by senior Ella Simpson with 17 points, and Alexia Johnson who added 14 points off of the bench.

“We ran out of gas in the end,” UHS head coach Nick Lusk said. “It’s been a gauntlet recently and we’ve gone through some tough games and tonight was no different against a talented team.”

The Hawks didn’t allow the Patriots to pull away early, as a 16-6 lead with 1:34 to go in the first quarter seemed it could become even greater before the buzzer. UHS started just 1 for 9 from the field, but a 7-2 run over the remaining 90 seconds of the opening frame saw it trailing by just six points, 19-13.

The second quarter was an offensive onslaught from both teams, with a combined 50 points being scored in the eight-minute frame. The Hawks were scoring but couldn’t cut the deficit to any smaller than four points as the Patriots continued to match each bucket and eventually grew the lead to eight points before halftime 45-37.

“We started out pressing and they (UHS) did a good job against it, and they made some tough buckets,” Wheeling Park coach Ryan Young said. “Our goal at half when they had 37 points was to hold them to 55 and they scored 56, so we are proud of our defensive effort in the second half.”

To go along with the defensive effort mentioned by Young, Woods began to score at will in the second half. Not only did she pour in six triples in the game, but she also found space in the paint with seven of her 13 field goals coming from close range.

“We’ve kind of been waiting for Lala to break out a little and this was a big game for her,” Young said. “Alexis adds 25 on 13 shots and is super efficient. We had 27 assists as a team by our book. When you have that kind of formula of assists and your all-staters scoring like that you can win a lot of games.”

The Patriots outscored the Hawks 26-11 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 29-point victory.

Wheeling Park will travel to face Parkersburg South on Thursday evening.

The Hawks have had a tough schedule so far and played a lot of games recently, and it won’t get any easier as they host John Marshall (7-4) on Saturday and No. 1 Morgantown on Friday, Jan 19.

Wheeling Park 85, University 56

WP 19 26 14 26 – 85
UHS 13 24 8 11 – 56
Wheeling Park – Woods 13 0-0 32; Bordas 8 5-6 25; Daugherty 5 0-0 13; Huffman 3 0-0 6; Heller 2 1-1 5; Delk 2 0-0 4.
University – Simpson 6 4-6 17; Johnson 5 3-3 14; Stemple 4 0-0 10; Fox 3 3-4 9; Weaver 1 0-0 2; Braham 2 0-0 4.
3-Pt. Goals – Wheeling Park 13 (Woods 6 Bordas 4 Daugherty 3). University 4 (Stemple 2 Johnson 1 Simpson 1).