WOODS CROSS Woods Cross has flown under the radar throughout the preseason, partly because of an early loss to Viewmont and partly due to a soft schedule.
With that said, if the Wildcats continue to play like they did in Friday's 71-55 victory over Olympus, they won't be an unknown quantity in Class 4A for very long.
In Woods Cross' final game of the preseason it played smothering defense and shot the ball extremely well in racing to a 19-point halftime lead and eventually improving to 8-1 on the season.
"We just got hot and made a lot of shots," said Woods Cross coach Todd Street. "The biggest thing I was proud of was our defense was really good, we were forcing them into tough shots and they were pressing."
Holton Hunsaker was the catalyst throughout the game. Not only did Woods Cross' point guard dish out five assists in addition to his zero turnovers, but he buried six 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 28 points.
"He got going and that was nice to see, Holton's due for a game like that," said Street. "That's a bonus when he's shooting like that."
Hunsaker started to heat up early in the second quarter with Woods Cross already leading 21-11. He knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to increase the Wildcats' lead to 27-11, and later in the quarter he again buried back-to-back 3s upping the lead to 35-14.
Woods Cross made a scintillating 13-of-23 field goals in the dominating first half, whereas the cold-shooting Titans (7 of 26) couldn't get anything going in the opening half.
The Wildcats maintained their 20-point cushion throughout most of the third quarter, but that's complacency set in.
Trailing 48-26 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Olympus whittled the deficit to 50-42 by outscoring Woods Cross 16-2 over the next four minutes.
"Olympus really got after us," said Street, who reiterated that his team hasn't faced a quality pressing defense yet this preseason. "We need some things like that to happen, that's really the only way you learn."
After going through the motions and watching the big lead disappear, Woods Cross finally responded to Oly's intensity with back-to-back 3-pointers from Hunsaker and Tyler Stahle, who accounted for 13 of the Wildcats' next 15 points as they pushed the lead back to 65-47.
Woods Cross finished the game shooting 55 percent compared to Olympus' 40 percent."I think we have confidence, but it really means nothing. It all starts back at 0-0, and we start right off with Bountiful ... at their place," said Street. "They're the team to beat. We've just got to focus on keep getting better. The team that ends up there in the long run is the team that gets better from this point on."
E-mail: [email protected]