What an opening night it was at Woodward High School Friday night. After being down as much as 13 in the first quarter, the Bulldogs fought back behind seniors Terry Durham and Demontez “Kane” Cooper to beat Hughes 71-64. Big Red came out on fire pushing the pace in transition and getting easy looks in the paint in the half-court, which helped them take a commanding 18-5 lead at one point.
The 2nd quarter is where Woodward started to turn the tide using ball-pressure which resulted in someone other than Giovanni Santiago (#33 c/o ’18) for Hughes handling the ball. The Bulldogs also established Durham in the paint around this time as well, with the big fella either scoring or getting to the line. Winning the 2nd and 3rd quarters 35-21 all but sealed the comeback for the Bulldogs, even though Santiago single-handily kept Big Red in the game. For Woodward, Durham (#88 c/o ’18) paced Woodward with 33 points and 15 rebounds while Cooper (#180 c/o ’18) finished with 21 points, 5 rebounds and assist. Santiago lead Hughes with 33 points of his own while senior backcourt mate Dwayne Rosado added 14.
Five Takeaways/Hughes vs. Woodward
- The debut of G DJ Brewton (#56 c/o ’18) will be a tremendous asset for the Big Red. During the game it was noticeable that when Giovanni does not have the ball in his hands, its hard for others to get quality shots. In Brewton Coach Wyant will have another ball-handler and shot-maker/creator who take some of the ball-handling load from Gio. Look for DJ’s debut in early January.
- With his first double-double of the season, Durham served notice that he is a contender for conference and possibly D-II player of the year. Terry was a load around the rim Friday night, continuously getting solid position in the paint which made for easy finishes around the rim or a trip to the free-throw line. He ended the night with 24 free throw attempts (13-24).
- Dwayne Rosado must find a way to stay on the court for Hughes. The senior had to leave the game multiple times due to cramps (to be fair the gym was very, very hot). This is a problem that I saw Rosado deal with over the AAU season as well, and with him being Big Red’s best shooter he must have a healthy lower half to play up to his potential.
- While everyone will talk about the performance of Durham and Santiago, Bulldog senior point man Demontez Cooper played just as well as anyone on the court Friday. His 21 points, 5 rebound, 5 assist performance showed just how important he is to their team success. Cooper was a coach on the floor Friday night, regularly making sound decisions and getting clutch buckets when needed. And let’s not overlook the fact that he only had two turnovers as well despite basically playing the whole game.
- The Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference race will be a fun one to watch all season. Woodward’s win solidifies them as a contender for the crown along with Hughes and Taft. And by the way Taft coach Demarco Bradley, his staff and some team members took in the action Friday as well.