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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Woodland boys basketball strong down stretch to beat La Center

Beavers hit 10 3-pointers in 55-49 win

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: December 1, 2021, 10:29pm

LA CENTER — The Woodland boys basketball team had just fallen behind midway through the fourth quarter.

Last spring, in which Woodland won one of eight games in a shortened season, the Beavers might not have bounced back.

But the nine players who return from that team are now a stronger, more mature group. Woodland closed strong to beat La Center 55-49 on Wednesday to open the season with a win.

“It got tough and we didn’t shy away from it,” Woodland coach Jesse Buck said. “That’s what I was looking for tonight. We’ll build on it.”

La Center took a 43-42 lead when Austin Nixon’s basket capped five straight points to start the fourth quarter. Woodland took a timeout with 4:20 left to play.

Woodland put together an 8-0 run after the timeout, with Beau Swett and Dane Huddleston hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.

La Center got as close as 52-48 on Julius Frazier’s 3-pointer inside the final minute. But Cole Logan’s basket sealed the game for the Beavers, who broke La Center’s full-court press down the stretch to keep the Wildcats at bay.

Swett scored 15 points to lead Woodland. Huddleston and Justin Philpot each added 14 points. That trio accounted for all 10 of Woodland’s 3-pointers.

Woodland led by as much as 28-19 in the second quarter. But junior guard Colby Hylton scored five points in La Center’s 8-2 run to cut the lead to 30-27 at the half.

Hylton finished with 18 points to lead a young La Center team that has just three seniors and started two sophomores and a freshman on Wednesday. Austin Nixon added 10 points for the Wildcats (0-2).