Woodlawn holds off stuborn Odin 60-47
Cardinals overcome sluggish effort, notch 12th win of the season

WOODLAWN - It was an 'oddball' sort of game on a Thursday night. And with the temperature falling outside of Woodlawn High School, the Cardinals found it difficult to 'heat up' inside Sides Gym against the Odin Eagles.

Having a few days off between conference road games, the Cardinals might have overlooked the 1-11 Eagles.
This oversight nearly cost Woodlawn a victory.

But Doug Junkins and Derek Burns came through late in the game for the Cardinals and they held off Odin 60-47 in a game that was closer than the final score.

Junkins and Burns each posted 19 points on the scoreboard as the Mid-South Conference leaders improved to 12-3 overall.

The Eagles managed to hang with Woodlawn for most of the contest, and even closed the gap to 45-41 with 5:18 to play on a turn around jumper by Michael Dunbar.

But a succession of turnovers and missed opportunities proved costly for a team that has worked hard this season with little success to show for it.

The Cardinals hit some important free throws in the final frame to keep the Eagles at bay. Woodlawn made good on 14-of-22 charities in the fourth quarter, as Odin was forced to foul.

"I am proud of these kids because they play hard every night." said Odin first year coach Mike Finckbone. "I keep telling the kids that if we continue to work hard, we will get some wins down the road. We almost got one tonight."

Even though Woodlawn never trailed in this game, the Cardinals never found a comfort zone.

The Eagles pestered them on the defensive end, using a 'Box-and-One' defense on Junkins.

However the 6-3 senior finally shook loose in the second quarter.

After Odin opened the stanza with four-straight points to cut the lead to 13-12, Junkins got the Cardinals rolling with a pair of 3-pointers.

His first one from the right side pushed the lead to 16-12 with 5:42 left.

Then his teammates got going as well, with Luke Rolle and Burns scoring the next five points.

Rolle scored on a 10-footer in the paint and Burns hit from long-range in the right corner, which 'rushed' Odin to take timeout at 21-12 with 4:02 to go.

Junkins hit 'trifecta' number two from the left corner on Woodlawn's next possession and Burns scored on a lay in from a nice pass by Mike Pool. This convinced coach Finckbone to stop play once again with a timeout at 3:06 left before halftime.

At this point, most 1-11 teams would simply roll over, get on the bus and head home.

But not these Eagles.

After managing to cut the deficit to under double-digits heading into the half, Odin came out and took over most of the third quarter and nearly got even with the Cardinals.

After Rolle scored on a lay up for Woodlawn to open the third quarter, the Eagles went on a scoring tear.

Dunbar hit on a 3-point attempt to cut the lead to 29-21.

Junkins responded with a 3-pointer of his own to stretch the lead back to 11.

However the Eagles scored the next eight points.

Keith Kelly came off the bench and canned two-straight rainbow 3-pointers to narrow the Cardinals advantage to 32-27.

Curtis Parrish then hit shot from 10-feet out on the baseline and it was 32-29 with 3:07 left.

Dunbar canned another 3-pointer after a Burns lay in and suddenly Odin was within striking distance at 34-32.

Odin used up a lot of energy coming back in the game and it began to show in the fourth quarter as they started picking up fouls in bunches.

Woodlawn's Burns, Junkins and Nick Knapp combined to hit 5-of-6 freebies in the first 1:44 of the final quarter. This opened the lead up to 43-36.

At this point, Woodlawn became its own worst enemy.

The Cardinals committed three-straight turnovers and, on the last one of the three, Odin finally capitalized with points.

Kelly took aim and let fly with another 3-pointer and when it went through the net, Woodlawn's lead was whittled down to 43-39.

The next trip down the floor produced another Woodlawn error and the Eagles' Hodge got his short shot in the lane to fall while being fouled by Rolle.

But Hodge missed the free throw and the Cardinals got the ball back and decided to run some time off the clock.

This change in strategy forced the Eagles out of their gimmick defense and Junkins made them pay from behind the 3-point line.
His shot pushed the Woodlawn advantage to 48-41.

Burns headed to the free throw line with 3:08 to go and hit 1-of-2 chances and the lead seemed to finally be safe at eight points.

However Curtis Parrish scored twice on consecutive chances to make things close once again.

His second shot was a driving underhanded lay in that cut things down to 49-45 with 2:22 to play.

Woodlawn, after a timeout, spread the floor. Burns once again got open in the lane and his lay in was the last field goal that the Cardinals would need.

The Eagles sent the hosts to the foul line six times in the final 1:30 and the Cardinals hit on 6-of-12 free throws to escape with the 13-point win.

"I think they kind of looked past us tonight," added Finckbone. "They are a good ball club and they have a conference road game tomorrow night so I think they may not been too fired up to play us."

Dunbar led Odin with 12 points while teammates Parrish and Hodge chipped in 11 and 10. Kelly came off the bench and hit three 3-pointers to finish with nine.

Besides the 19-each from Burns and Junkins, the Cardinals' Rolle and Knapp added nine and eight respectively.

The Cardinals won the game from the free throw line, making 19-of-29 while Odin converted six-of-nine from the stripe.

Woodlawn travels to conference rival Webber Township Friday night to take on the Trojans.

Odin plays host to Midland Trail Conference foe Noble on Saturday.