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On the 'Double': Three in double figures as Wossman girls repeat as champions

Lady Wildcats pull away in second quarter to defeat Albany for Division II non-select title

By Buck Ringgold 

Wossman team photo by Michael Odendahl 

HAMMOND, La. - A tough schedule, including eventual state champions, might be what prepared Wossman to produce a successful repeat of its own state championship.

Three Lady Wildcats reached double figures, and Wossman used a pivotal second quarter to gradually begin pulling away from Albany. The Lady Wildcats were able to repeat as state champions after a 63-43 win Saturday night for the Division II non-select title at the University Center.

“You talk about playing a tough schedule, and that’s what we did,” Wossman coach Otis Robinson said. “We did it on purpose because I feel like if you play tough teams, you don’t think that you’re better than anybody because you need those games where we’re going to have to grind and dig in to try to win it.”

The Lady Wildcats - the top seed in the bracket - faced several squads that also made it to Hammond for “Marsh Madness.” That included Parkway - which won the Division I non-select title later on Saturday - and Lafayette Christian, which claimed the Division II select championship.

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In fact, Parkway and Lafayette Christian were the only two teams to defeat the Lady Wildcats all season. Wossman (28-2) also played Ponchatoula, which lost to Parkway in Saturday night’s Division I non-select championship game.

“I think those two games and the Ponchatoula game prepared us for the run at the state title, because our last loss came against Lafayette Christian and we rolled from that point on,” Robinson said.

The Lady Wildcats also weren’t fazed by the partisan crowd of Albany supporters, since Albany is located a few miles from Hammond.

They definitely had something to cheer about at the end of the first quarter, when Lady Hornet Brilee Ford beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer, which cut Wossman’s lead to two, 15-13.

But the Lady Wildcats took control with a 10-0 run to start the second quarter, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Katreeka Mott. Wossman built a 25-13 lead three minutes into the second quarter on a foul shot from junior guard Danaya Ross, the team’s leading scorer.

Wossman still led by 12 at halftime, 30-18, after holding Albany (28-3) to 1-of-14 shooting (7.1 percent) in the second quarter. The Lady Wildcat defense also held Albany juniors Ava Shields and Aubrey Hoyt - the team’s two leading scorers - to a combined 11 points and no 3-point baskets.

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“I’m surprised because I know they can shoot, especially Shields; when she sets her feet, she can knock it down,” Robinson said. “We put (Ramiah) Augurson and even Ashanti (Smith), she had to hold them and she’s a freshman, and even Ross had to hold Shields a couple of times out there to make sure we got in her face so she couldn’t get in a groove.”

Wossman, on the other hand, continued to be in a groove in the second half. The Lady Wildcats extended the lead to 47-26 after three quarters and went on to lead by as many as 28 points.

They also shot 64 percent in the second half (14-of-22) and were 51 percent from the field for the game (26-of-51).

Ross led all scorers with 24 points as she was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player. She was 9-of-13 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc while also grabbing eight rebounds.

On Wednesday, despite Wossman's 60-47 win against South Beauregard in the semifinals, Ross was held to 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting.

She was determined to get a few more shots to drop on Saturday.

“What got me was (in Wednesday’s semifinal), the team had my back and we had to come back more prepared (Saturday),” Ross said.

Wilson, a sophomore point guard who was the second-leading scorer on the team, added 14 points and went 5-of-8 from the field. She had 23 points in Wednesday’s semifinal win.

“In order for us to get back to where we were, whatever I had to do for my team and get the job done, that’s what I was going to do,” Wilson said.

Junior center Brittany Burton scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and narrowly missed a double-double, finishing with nine rebounds.

“I feel like I just had to do good from the last game because my teammates needed me and I had to step up,” Burton said.

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Robinson remarked it was good having several players have the ability to score, both inside and outside.

“I’ve said all along, when you have more than one or two ball handlers on your team, it’s easy for each player to score in double digits, especially when they’re working hard,” Robinson said. “We don’t even have to ask them to come to the gym, but they did, texting us or calling us and saying, ‘Coach, we want to get in the gym.’ And we do; when we have spare time, we go open up the gym and I’ll sit out there in my office and let them go out and do what they do.

“They’ve been preparing themselves for the task and make it look easy for the coaches.”

And it might even be just as easy next season, as Wossman graduates two seniors and returns its four leading scorers in Ross, Wilson, Burton and Augurson, a sophomore.

“It feels good; every time I might have a bad game, I know they’re going to have my back and I know they can put up shots when I can’t,” Augurson said.

Albany’s top scorer was Emma Fuller, who finished with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting. She also grabbed seven rebounds.