The Woodland girls honored a pair of seniors with extremely contrasting histories with the team following Friday’s home game against Hiram.
Ironically enough, both players — Madgie Robinson and Riley Jaussi — finished as the Wildcats’ joint-top scorers with six points apiece, but Woodland fell by a 48-27 final score in Region 7-AAAAA action.
Robinson played her final home game after starting at point guard for the Wildcats the past four years.
“She’s come a long way, and I’ve asked a ton of her,” Morgan said of Robinson. “She’s started since she was a freshman, been a prominent ball handler. She too will reap the benefits of the things she’s learned from basketball, besides just the scoreline at the end of the game.”
Jaussi, meanwhile, transferred into the district from Cherokee High before the school year began. An injury suffered in a preseason game cost her a good portion of the season.
“She got medically cleared in January,” Morgan said of Jaussi. “Even though she’s cleared, she’s still not 100 percent by any means, and then she got hurt Tuesday night at Cass. To her credit, she chose to play tonight. … She’s probably 50 percent at best, but she gave 100 percent. She’s going to be successful in life based on her willingness to go out and compete, even when she’s not at 100 percent.”
The Wildcats (1-20, 1-13) held the lead for a good portion of the first quarter. However, Hiram (12-12, 7-7) used a late 8-0 run to carry a 12-6 advantage into the second period.
A significant offensive slump by Woodland during the second quarter allowed Hiram to extend its lead to 25-9 by halftime. The only points the home team could muster in the period came from the foul line, as Abigail Taylor went 3-for-4.
Hiram’s Sydney Jones finished with 11 of her game-high 18 points in the first half to help boost the Hornets to a healthy lead.
“I would say the big difference early was that we gave them a lot of second and third chances,” Morgan said. “We did a pretty good job defending the first shot. Their size and quickness off the floor hurt us in that regard.
“We struggled to score, turnovers [and] we missed some shots. They did a good job limiting us to one shot.”
Woodland remained ice cold from the floor in the third quarter with just one made field goal, as Hiram held a 36-13 edge entering the final stanza.
That’s when the Wildcats finally came alive offensively. Robinson and Jaussi each had four points in the period, while Woodland knocked down 8 of 12 shots from the stripe.
Hiram saw itself outscored 14-12 in the fourth quarter, but it continued the consistent scoring output from the Hornets. The visitors scored 12, 13, 11 and 12 points, respectively, across Friday’s four quarters.
Woodland’s regular season will conclude with easily its toughest two-game stretch — back-to-back road contests at the top two teams in the region. It starts with a trip to Carrollton on Tuesday and concludes with a game at No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Villa Rica.
“First and foremost, we want to continue to build good habits, particularly for the underclassmen,” Morgan said of some goals for the team’s last few games.
For Robinson and Jaussi, their high school careers will come to an in the next few weeks. While Jaussi has made an extremely positive impact on her teammates in the short time she’s been with the program, Robinson will leave a gaping hole at the point guard position, when she leaves.
Having coached her throughout her time at Woodland, Morgan believes Robinson has taken from basketball the life lessons that coaches so often preach can be learned from the game and will no doubt be able to apply it after graduation.
“As a freshman, she came in and was surrounded by a pretty good group,” Morgan said of Robinson. “They kind of took her under their wing to a degree. Her biggest improvement has been as a leader. She’s generally a quiet person, but she’s taken on more of a leadership role. …
“She’s a great teammate, just a super person [and] always positive. Very, very, very coachable. That just shows what type of person she’ll be in the workforce. She’s going to be a good employee and work well with others. She’s smart, and all of those things are intangibles that will make her successful.”