By PAUL HINES
Woodlawn ripped past Elverado 73-15 Thursday night in the opening round of the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.
The game was never close.
The top-seeded Cardinals scored the opening 12 points and held Elverado scoreless until three minutes left in the first quarter. Woodlawn took a 23-4 lead after the first quarter and a 47-10 edge into halftime.
“I think more importantly was our defensive intensity,” Woodlawn coach Shane Witzel said. “With finals and then with Christmas holidays and with the weather situation, it’s been hit or miss with us getting our work in. We really needed to take advantage of today’s game.”
Gabe Owens led all scorers with 17 points. His brother Ross was in double figures with 11. Ty Coleman added seven.
Woodlawn’s defense harassed Elverado throughout the game. The Cardinals forced 26 turnovers with 17 coming in the opening half of action. Several of the Elverado miscues ended with Woodlawn layups at the other end of the court. Elverado also finished seven of 33 from the field.
“We were trying to play fast and create some full-court pressure and see if our defense could create some offense,” Witzel said.
The Cardinals played all 13 of their varsity players in the game.
“We feel like we have a little advantage with our bench, and we need to keep utilizing that, and we’ve got to learn how to play at a quicker pace to utilize that bench and that’s part of what today was about,” Witzel said.
Woodlawn faces the winner of the New Athens and Sesser-Valier matchup at 8 p.m. tonight.