Jamison Lawrence made two free throws in the final second of overtime to help Woodland emerge with a 54-52 win over Darlington in a thrilling neutral-site game Monday.
With the narrow victory at Berry College, Woodland moves on to the semifinals of the Seven Hills Rotary/Rome News-Tribune Christmas Tournament. The Wildcats fill face Model at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Georgia Highlands College for a spot in Thursday’s championship game.
Darlington (3-5) sprinted out to a 14-7 lead after one quarter before a balanced Woodland attack allowed the Wildcats (2-6) to pull within 23-22 by halftime.
DiAnthony Heathcock had 16 of his 23 points in the second half to help Woodland complete the comeback. He scored seven points in the third quarter, although Darlington managed to extend its lead to 40-36 by the end of the period.
The Wildcats clamped down on defense in the fourth quarter, limiting the Tigers to just eight points. Heathcock scored more than that by himself to help send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Jaden Johnson scored first to give Woodland a two-point lead. A pair of free throws by Lawrence gave the Wildcats a 52-48 edge.
That cushion dissipated in the closing moments, but Lawrence, who had a dozen points, calmly sank a pair from the foul line with 0.6 seconds remaining to lift Woodland to a massive early season win.
Darlington 59, Woodland girls 17
A pair of two-point quarters were too much for the Woodland girls to overcome against an impressive Darlington team in the first round of the Seven Hills Rotary/Rome News-Tribune Christmas Tournament Monday at Berry College.
Woodland hung around through the first quarter, but Darlington pulled away for a 59-17 win.
The Wildcats (1-7) were within 16-6 after one period. But the team only found the bottom of the net once in the second quarter to enter halftime facing a 28-8 deficit.
Despite Woodland enjoying its most fruitful offensive period during the third quarter, Darlington (10-1) still managed to extend the lead out to 49-15 by the final stanza.
In total, six different Wildcats scored. However, only Morgan Cooper (5 points) and Abigail Taylor (4) managed more than two points.
Woodland will play in a consolation game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Georgia Highlands College.