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Woodcreek basketball wins for its seniors on their night

Victory over Rocklin moves Timberwolves closer to goal of finishing .500 in SFL
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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It was senior night for Woodcreek High School basketball Friday, and the stage was set for a fittingly dramatic finish. Rocklin overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to tie the score at 43 by the end of regulation, and the Timberwolves were huddled by their bench to determine the game plan for overtime.

There were two things on Woodcreek’s mind, according to junior Tyler Milani.

“Heart, and play for the seniors,” he said.

That determination was enough to put Woodcreek over the top, as they dominated overtime en route to a 51-45 victory. Milani was at the forefront of the attack, scoring two buckets and assisting on a three-point swish from Michael Matthews, the only field goals by either team in overtime.

Milani was at the top of his game. Rocklin’s Taylor Cherry hit a three-point basket to give the Thunder a two-point lead with 25 seconds remaining, but Milani answered with a floater on the other end to tie the score with four seconds left. He led all scorers with 18 points.

“These last couple of games I have been trying to change my mentality,” Milani said. “Stop settling for shots the whole time. Open up my game and try to get fouled. Just keep taking it to the hole, get closer and see if I could get one in.”

But the real key for Woodcreek was on defense, where a tight zone befuddled Rocklin. The Thunder lacked the aggressive ball movement needed to attack the zone, and the Timberwolves benefited greatly. They held Rocklin to two free throws in overtime and forced 10 steals.

“We won that game in overtime on defense,” Woodcreek coach Paul Hayes said. “When this team plays together as a team and plays that kind of defense, they are real tough to beat.”

Woodcreek led 27-20 at halftime, but Rocklin steadily closed the gap and tied the score at the end of regulation. Woodcreek scored four points in the fourth quarter, a factor that led to overtime. The offensive end is an aspect of his team that Hayes hopes to improve moving forward.

“We need more of a flow offensively,” Hayes said. “We didn’t have much of a flow going; it was stagnant. Three passes, hold, three passes, hold. We can’t do that. The ball’s gotta move, move, move.”

Rocklin’s high-point man was Drew Ardissone with 14 points. Cherry followed with 12. Woodcreek’s Matthews posted a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

The young Timberwolves are building for the future, but Hayes also said the team is shooting for a strong finish this season and has clear goals in mind.
“If we win our next two, we’re .500 in league,” Hayes said. “That’s our goal, get .500 in league. That would be a real nice accomplishment for this team.”

JV

Woodcreek 63, Rocklin 41 – It was Woodcreek all day, as the Timberwolves built a large lead and held The Thunder in check.

Woodcreek 51, Rocklin 45 (OT)

Woodcreek (51)
Milani 7 2-2 18, Matthews 5 5-8 16, Blackwell 3 0-0 8, Howe 2 1-2 5, Bishop 1 2-2 4, Morse 0 0-0 0, Summers 0 0-0 0, Bass 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 10-14 51.
Rocklin (45)
Ardissone 3 7-11 14, Valverde 2 0-0 6, Moss 3 3-6 9, Cherry 3 4-9 12, Williams 1 0-2 2, Safin 1 0-0 2, Cook 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 14-28 45.

Woodcreek   14   13   12   4   8 – 51
Rocklin           9   11   14   9   2 – 45


Three-point goals – Woodcreek 5 (Blackwell 2, Milani 2, Matthews), Rocklin 5 (Valverde 2, Cherry 2, Ardissone). Rebounds – Woodcreek 35 (Matthews 10, Bishop 8, Summers 5, Milani 5, Bass 3, Blackwell 2, Morse, Howe), Rocklin 26 (Moss 7, Cook 3, Valverde 3, Gregg 3, Safin 3, Ardissone 3, Williams 2, Cherry 2). Assists – Woodcreek 6 (Milani 2, Matthews 2, Blackwell, Bass), Rocklin 5 (Moss 2, Valverde, Cherry, Cook). Steals – Woodcreek 10 (Matthews 3, Bishop 2, Howe 2, Blackwell 2, Milani), Rocklin 6 (Moss 2, Valverde 2, Cook, Williams).