By PAUL HINES
Woodlawn held off New Athens and won 51-42 Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.
Woodlawn’s Kris Harlow led all scorers with 23 points. He hit four straight baskets in the fourth quarter to help the Cardinals to the victory.
“That’s what you need,” Woodlawn coach Shane Witzel said. “You need to have multiple scoring options where one guy can have a good night.”
Jake Robinson and Jayson Hapeman had seven points each for the Cardinals.
New Athens led for a large chunk of the opening half. The Yellow Jackets took a 13-9 lead and held a 20-19 edge with about two minutes left. Harlow started an offensive spurt that allowed the Cardinals to take a 24-20 lead into the half. Harlow hit a 3-pointer, and Logan Isaac followed with a steal to give Woodlawn a 24-20 lead before New Athens’ Blake Ragland ended the half with a bucket. Woodlawn forced New Athens into 13 second-quarter turnovers.
The two teams battled for control in the third quarter with New Athens making a run to close the quarter. Luke Marlow hit a 3-pointer to put New Athens up 34-31, and Tyler Meyer made it a 36-3 edge going into the final quarter. Meyer led New Athens with 13 points.
Harlow jumpstarted the Cardinals offense early in the fourth quarter. He hit a shot 30 seconds into the quarter. The score ignited a 7-0 run that saw Woodlawn take a 40-36 lead. The Cardinals clung to the margin through most of the quarter as New Athens tried to slow the clock with fouls.
“We had stretches there where we got on a roll offensively, and I think a lot of that had to do with our defensive pressure that we were trying to create,” Witzel said. “And hopefully the depth of our bench has an effect as the game goes on. I think that helped us try to get some easy baskets.”
Woodlawn plays at 8 p.m. tonight in the semifinal.