In what was a high stakes game in terms of rivalry and district tournament seeding, Woodland’s three-point shooting was simply too much for Ridgefield as the teams faced off in Beaver territory on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Despite Ridgefield being one point away from tying or taking the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, Woodland’s defense, and some foul calls, allowed the Beavers to regain control to secure a 59-53 victory and a No. 3 seed in the 2A District IV Tournament.
Woodland started off hot in the early minutes of the first quarter, hitting three after three, as the team built an early lead. The Spudders found a way to break the Beaver’s dam and stop their offense as Ridgefield ended the first quarter down only two points with a score of 19-17.
The second quarter went in favor of the Beavers. Woodland stopped Ridgefield multiple times and implemented a much slower-paced offense that limited Ridgefield’s chances. The Spudders were only able to rack up six points to Woodland’s 14 throughout the second quarter.
Ridgefield had a final play of the half that was cut short by a screen violation in the last five seconds of the half that allowed Woodland to keep a 10-point lead of 33-23.
In the second half, Woodland tallied 26 points compared to Ridgefield’s 30. Ridgefield’s offense was forced into several end-of-shot-clock situations that created frantic shot attempts.
In the third quarter, only 11 points were scored by both teams as Woodland led 44-34.
The Spudders scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, tying Woodland’s first quarter effort. The Beavers finished the fourth quarter with 15 points, which was good for a six-point lead at the final buzzer.
“They’re capable of executing,” Woodland’s head coach Justin Gabbard said. “That’s been something we’ve been struggling on a little bit. They’re capable of being patient. We played tough defense and we got after them. I’m proud of them. We played like we knew we could play.”
Sid Bryant, Ridgefield’s 6-foot-4 forward, had back-to-back buckets that helped the Spudders get within one point of Woodland at the 3:59 mark of the fourth quarter.
Bryant finished the game with seven points and was outscored by Woodland’s Justin Philpot who secured 12 points.
Ridgefield was led by Cole Chester, who had 15 total points and Jalen Dunn with 11 points. Woodland was led by Drew Burns with 17 points, Dane Huddleston’s 16 points, and floor commander Beau Swett’s 14 points.
“It’s a great end to the (regular) season, you know. We got a packed house,” Woodland senior Drew Burns said. “We’ve been playing together since we were little guys. It was nice to start something and finish something all together, so it was a good win.”
The Spudders won against the Beavers during the first meetup between the teams earlier in the season with a score of 46-38.
Woodland secured the No. 3 seed in the 2A Greater St. Helens League with the win. They were set to play on Saturday, Feb. 11 on the road against Black Hills High School, while Ridgefield was set to play Tumwater High School on Feb. 11 as the No. 4 seed in the district tournament.
Both Woodland and Ridgefield lost on Feb. 11, but advanced to play win or go home games on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Woodland will face off against league opponent Columbia River and Ridgefield is set to play W.F. West from Chehalis.