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Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
Woodlan’s Greg White drives between Canterbury’s Christian Kreiger, left, and Andrew Kus during Class 2A South Adams Sectional on Monday night.

Warriors win 1st sectional in 17 years, stop Cavaliers

Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
Canterbury’s Trevor Uhl, right, works his way past Woodlan’s Jeffrey Jones to take the ball to the basket.

– For Woodlan coach Dave Randall, ending a long sectional drought wasn’t about the past as it was about starting a new legacy.

The Warriors broke a 17-year sectional title drought with a 71-67 win over Canterbury in the finals of the South Adams Class 2A Sectional on Monday.

It was Woodlan’s first sectional championship since 1997, the year before the class era began.

The sectional championship completes the trifecta of team goals to go along with regular-season and tournament ACAC titles.

“That’s a long time,” Randall said of 1997. “But this is their story and their year. For people to say that another team is like the 2014 team, that’s wonderful for these kids. I couldn’t be happier for them to come back and look at the wall and see their pictures with all those trophies in front of them.”

The game was postponed from Saturday because of the Canterbury girls playing in the 2A state title game, giving the Warriors another couple of days to think about making history.

“It’s been a long journey,” Woodlan senior Jaylin Bennett said. “As long as we got to play it didn’t matter (if the game was delayed).”

Woodlan (18-6) will play Winamac (14-8) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the North Judson Regional.

The Warriors put four players in double figures, led by the 18 points of Greg White, 17 from Kadin Gerig, 13 from Bennett and 12 from Jeffery Jones.

“We just wanted to come out and get it,” Gerig said. “It feels so good. My dad always talks about (the 1997 title), that’s how I know how long ago that was.”

The Warriors were 18 of 23 from the free-throw line, 8 of 10 in the fourth. The Cavaliers were 10 of 19 from the line, missed its first five attempts and were 2 of 8 in the fourth.

“In a close game, it’s all about who hits layups and free throws, and they hit theirs and we missed ours,” Canterbury coach Scott Kreiger said. “There are no excuses. There’s nobody guarding you, and if you can’t put the ball in the basket, you probably don’t deserve to win.”

Canterbury (10-13) got 20 points from Andrew Kus and 16 from Trevor Uhl.

The Cavaliers came out of the gate quickly, hitting from beyond the arc and opened up a 23-11 advantage late in the first with the help of five 3-pointers.

The Warriors faced a similar situation in the sectional opener when it was down early to Eastside and showed the same kind of moxie in another come-from-behind win.

“Before the game, coach talked about being undaunted and keep fighting and chipping away, and that’s what we did,” Gerig said.

Canterbury held the lead, 46-38, until Woodlan went on a 21-8 run to end the third and open the fourth and led 59-54.

“I don’t know if people thought we were going to roll over and play dead against this team,” Kreiger said. “We play the whole season to get to this level to play a championship game, and our kids came out and they were ready to play.”

gjones@jg.net

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