Because of the Lady Wolverines’ victory, Etowah (13-11, 9-4) is no longer in contention for the No. 1 spot in the region tournament, and the bye into the semifinals — and an automatic state playoff berth — that goes along with it.
Both teams will be back in action today playing makeup games. Etowah will host Roswell, while Woodstock (13-11, 8-5) is hosting Lassiter for senior night.
Depending on the outcome of those games, either Woodstock or Etowah could get the No. 2 position.
Woodstock led most of Friday’s game, though never by more than six points until the final seconds. The Lady Wolverines were up 16-11 after the first quarter and 28-23 at the half.
Etowah cut the deficit to three by the end of the third quarter and even tied the game at 38-all late in the fourth quarter.
Woodstock’s Kennedy Montgomery connected for a 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes to play to break the tie. After another Montgomery field goal and a couple of free throws, the Lady Wolverines were up 46-38.
With 1:32 left on the clock Etowah’s Taylor Kimber scored to make it 46-40. Etowah coach Bob Westbrook called a timeout before Woodstock was able to inbound the ball and sent his girls out with a new plan.
The Lady Eagles turned up their defensive pressure and began fouling in order to try to get the ball. Woodstock made nine of its 10 attempts at the line in the final 1:30 of the game to pull away for the eight-point win.
Woodstock coach Julie Crowe said she has put more emphasis on free throws during practice, after her team had struggled at the line during the first part of the season. Crowe said that having her players start each practice with 100 free-throw attempts certainly made a difference in the outcome of the game.
“That is the best we have done all year — 20-for-25,” Crowe said. “We made the big ones down the stretch. We had the right people in the right place. We put a plan into place about a month-and-a-half ago, where they had to come in and shoot 100 free throws, because our percentage was so bad as a team. They have also spent time on their own shooting a lot.”
Payne led all scorers with 17 points. Tori Janos added 16 points for Etowah, including seven in both the first and third quarters.
Ashton Sutton scored 13 points for Woodstock, including 11 in the first half, while Montgomery made three 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.
Also finishing with 14 points was Kindole Pettway, who went 7-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter. Late in the game, when it was obvious that Etowah was fouling, Woodstock began feeding the ball to Pettway.
Crowe said the game was one of her team’s best all-around performances.
“We didn’t miss many assignments,” she said. “The kids were really focused. We’d had two really good days of practice and I think, with it coming down to crunch time, they really stepped up. We had people with six assists or seven offensive boards — things they are capable of doing every night.”