Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Woods' 31 Points Propel Ritter to 2nd State Title Trailing at Halftime, Lions Rally, Nip Hickory County Skyline 62-60

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Woods' 31 Points Propel Ritter to 2nd State Title Trailing at Halftime, Lions Rally, Nip Hickory County Skyline 62-60

Article excerpt

At 7 feet 1, Loren Woods might seem as though he can touch the stars.

On Saturday, Woods reached for the sky - Hickory County Skyline - and led Cardinal Ritter to the Class 2A basketball championship.

Behind Woods' 31 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots, Ritter posted a 62-60 victory over Skyline's Tigers in the title game at the Hearnes Center.

It was a performance befitting a star - and Woods definitely shined Saturday.

He scored 22 points in the second half, including 12 in the third quarter when Ritter went exclusively to him in the post to fend off the charging Tigers.

Woods, a junior, is "a young man with great potential," Cardinal Ritter coach Preston Thomas said.

"He has very good skills right now. He's still learning the game."

Ritter, which finished the season 30-3, also won the title in 1990. Skyline, making its first final-four appearance, closed at 30-2.

Skyline After Woods made a 10-foot turnaround jump shot with 5 minutes 22 seconds left, Skyline turned a 56-50 deficit to a 57-56 lead on a layup by Justin Yates with 2:36 remaining.

A 3-pointer by Brian Wright - one of four on the day for the Skyline guard - keyed the Tigers' run.

Ritter, which has faltered in three of the last four years in the state quarterfinals, seemed headed for another unhappy ending.

But after a Ritter timeout with 1:50 left, Woods snatched a key defensive rebound on a Wright miss.

Woods then made another jumper and was fouled.

With 1:32 left, he sank the free throw for a 59-57 Ritter lead.

Woods then excelled on defense - blocking a shot off a drive by Travis Bybee and drawing another foul.

Skyline was whistled for 22 fouls; Ritter had 14.

The foul put Ritter in the one-and-one, and Woods sank another foul shot for a 60-57 lead with 1:20 left.

He missed on the second attempt, but a Skyline layup rolled off the rim, and the Tigers then missed two 3s.

Woods came to the line with 17 seconds left and hit two more free throws for a 62-57 Ritter lead.

Chris Carrawell, who aggravated a dislocated left shoulder in the first half, made a key defensive play after Skyline's Jeremie Akins nailed a 3-pointer with 8. …

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