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Five keys to Woodlan's sectional title-game win

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For more on prep basketball follow Jonathan Batuello on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jcbatuello and the News-Sentinel.com crew at www.twitter.com/PrepHoops_ns.

The Warriors came from behind to beat Canterbury

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 12:53 am

BERNE -- Canterbury came out on fire from three, but it was Woodlan who

finished strong. The Warriors beat the Cavaliers 71-67 in the 2A

Sectional 36 final at South Adams to take home the school's first

sectional championship since 1997. Here are five keys to the victory.

1. Defensive change.

The Warriors came out in a zone, but the

Cavaliers took advantage of that to start the game. Canterbury opened

the first quarter going 5-for-6 from three to build a 20-8 lead.

Woodlan switched and it was paramount as Canterbury only went 4-for-13

the rest of the way.

2. Free throws.

Woodlan had a 3-point lead to start the fourth quarter

and then Cantebury went ice cold from the foul line. The Cavaliers

missed five free throws in the first few minutes of the final quarter,

while Woodlan sank all of them late to close the game out. The

Warriors shot 78 percent from the foul line while Canterbury only hit

on 52 percent of its free throws.

3. Experience.

Woodlan has a very talented senior class that has

helped build the program back to respectability. It starts four

seniors and a junior, so it didn't panic after the Cavaliers hot

start. Woodlan responded, settled down and came back strong to take

the lead and close the door. Compare this to Canterbury that has

freshman and sophomores playing important minutes and it makes a

difference in a sectional final.

4. Kadin Gerig's second quarter.

When Canterbury switched to a zone

Gerig caught fire. He had been held to five points in the first 12

minutes of play, but then scored eight straight for Woodlan as it

closed to within three just before halftime. He nailed two three-pointers

and got fouled on a drive. This stretch was key for Woodlan.

5. Turnovers.

Woodlan wasn't perfect in keeping the ball, but

Canterbury really struggled. The Warriors had four turnovers in the

first quarter but limited it to 13 for the game. Canterbury on the

other hand had 18 in the game leading to plenty of Woodlan fastbreaks

and points. In a close game those five turnovers between the teams

make a big difference.