Woodlawn picks up key road win
McKay, Rynski shine in 57-38 win over Sesser-Valier
SESSER – If anyone was expecting a regional championship-type atmosphere on Tuesday night when rivals Woodlawn and Sesser-Valier hooked up in their annual February regular season battle, they didn't get it.

What the pretty good sized crowd for a Tuesday night saw, and what turned out to a 57-38 win by the visiting Cardinals, was simply one team out-shooting the other.

Coach Brian Gamber's club improved to 21-3 overall by hitting 22-of-42 shots overall compared to just 12-of-34 from the hosts.

“I didn't think we guarded as well as we could have in the first half but we did a better job in the second half,” said Coach Gamber. “We allowed some offensive rebounds early but we did a better job on the boards after that.”

Two senior Woodlawn players led the way as the number three ABV ranked 1A squad got 29 points and eight rebounds by guard Blake McKay and 21 points and six rebounds from Race Rynski.

McKay and Rynski combined to nail down 11-of-12 free throws.

Only two other Cardinals scored in the game, senior guard Chase Hollenkamp with five points and junior guard Jackson Tiemann with one basket for two points.

Coach Shane Garner and his eighth ranked ABV crew played well enough to trail just 23-22 at halftime but the Red Devils allowed a 16-2 run by the Cardinals to open the second half.

“Having Blake (McKay) and Race (Rynski) being able to score like that was a big key tonight. Playing short handed (without Hayden England) we had other kids step up,” said Coach Gamber.

This proved too much to over come as Sesser-Valier saw it's mark slip to 14-9 on the season.

Only one player, senior Garrett Gunter, hit for double-figures for S-V as he ended up with 11 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Senior guards Ryker Kiselewski and Tanner Eubanks added eight points apiece.

Senior Peyton Bates added two 3-pointers for six points.

Rynski and Gunter traded buckets to start the second half before the Cardinals took off as they scored the next 14 points.

The 6-foot-2 senior Rynski scored eight of his points and McKay added six of his markers in the game changing run.

Three of the baskets by Rynski came on drives to the basket as the Red Devils defense, in the third quarter, wasn't up to the challenge.

McKay got a his only 3-point shot to bounce home in the run and when he took a back door cut for a lay in while being fouled, the rout was on.

His converted free throw closed the run and pushed the lead to 39-24 with with 1:15 left in the quarter.

Sesser-Valier got a free throw from Eubanks and a steal and transition basket by Kiselewski to close the quarter as the Red Devils trailed by 12 heading into the final frame.

If Coach Garner's squad had any intentions of climbing back into the game the first three possessions in the fourth quarter ended the hope.

Three consecutive turnovers all turned into Woodlawn points as the Cardinals took their biggest lead of the night.

McKay took an inbound lob pass from Tiemann for a basket to open the scoring and Rynski rebounded his own missed shot for another score.

A baseline shot by McKay pushed the Woodlawn lead to a 47-29 spread.

Sesser-Valier got a couple of fourth quarter 3-pointers to fall (Kiselewski, Bates) but Woodlawn closed the game with McKay hitting 4-of-4 from the line and adding one more made field goal on a drive in the lane.

Rynski's fast break lay in closed the scoring on Sesser-Valier's fifth turnover of the frame and 16th of the contest.

The Red Devils played pretty well in the first half, making a couple of runs.

The first was in the opening quarter as they took a 10-8 lead when Kiselewski hit a 3-pointer, Gunter scored on a mid-range shot and Eubanks converted a 3-point play while being fouled by McKay.

However McKay had a good opening quarter, as he scored 11 of the Cardinals' 15 points.

One of the bright spots for Woodlawn was the play of senior Alec Fewkes.

Normally a key reserve on the team, the 5-foot-9 guard started in place of junior Hayden England who missed the game with the flu.

Although he didn't net any points, he contributed on defense and picked up a couple of key assists in the game.

He fed McKay for a fast break score that turned into a three-point play in the first quarter.

“Fewkes and Hunter England played well for us and we got through some foul trouble (Tiemann) also.” said Coach Gamber.

After Woodlawn extended its lead early in the second quarter with Rynski adding a drive down the baseline and Hollenkamp nailing down a 3-point shot, Sesser-Valier rallied to tie the game at 20-20.

Two free throws by sophomore Gavin Woodland and consecutive 3-point bombs by Bates and reserve junior forward Jake Newbury closed the 8-0 run with 1:15 before the half.

Rynski continued his scoring by adding another three-point play while being fouled by Newbury.

Gunter's score in the lane was also a three-point opportunity but the senior's missed free throw sent the teams to the break at 23-22 Woodlawn.

That was the end of the Red Devils highlights as the Cardinals took home the win with a 34-16 second half.

Sesser-Valier held a slight 21-18 rebounding edge, but seven of the boards were on the offensive end with four coming late in the game after the outcome was laid to rest.

The Cardinals ended up with 10 turnovers, five in each half.

Woodlawn will host Cisne on Friday night in a Midland Trail Conference matchup before traveling to the Rich Herrin Shootout on Saturday to face 2A Vandalia a 1 pm.

“Coach Garner does a great job and they defend well and they defend the right way,” said Coach Gamber. “This is a big win for us.”

The Red Devils will also be in Benton on Saturday as they will face 2A Anna-Jonesboro in the same shootout at 5:30 pm.

“I thought we matched their intensity in the first half. I thought they (Woodlawn) came out in the second half and 'stepped it up' and we didn't,” said Coach Garner. “I was pretty disappointed in our defense tonight. Blake McKay is a phenomenal player but I was pretty disappointed in our back-side rotation. We let him get to the rim a lot. That (defense) is something that we are going to have to get better at if we are going to be able to win some close ballgames later on.”

Woodlawn (21-3)
Sesser-Valier (14-9)

Woodlawn (57)
– Fewkes 0 0 0-0 0, England 0 0 0-0 0, Rynski 9 0 3-3 21, McKay 9 1 8-9 29, Hollenkamp 1 1 0-0 5, Tiemann 1 0 0-1 2. 2FG-20, 3FG-2, FT-11-13, PF-16.
Sesser-Valier (38)
–Woodland 0 0 2-2 2, Gunter 4 0 3-5 11, Kirk 0 0 0-0 0, Bates 0 2 0-0 6, Newbury 0 1 0-0 3, Kiselewski 1 2 0-0 8, Eubanks 2 0 4-5 8.
2FG-7, 3FG-5, FT-9-12, PF-16.
Fouled Out
– Gunter - Sesser-Valier.
Technical Fouls
– None.