My story on Woodlands’ win at Palisade Prep:
YONKERS As Woodlands built its lead to double figures, coach Bob Murphy reminded his players about what they’d been through. Three times they blew a double-digit lead, most recently in the fourth quarter of their regular-season finale against Class A favorite Eastchester.
“We kind of went back to the fact that we had three really good clubs down 14, 15 points and couldn’t put them away,” Murphy said.
Ironically, those experiences served the Falcons well in Monday’s Class B quarterfinals. They survived an 11-point run on the road and finished strong in a 58-38 victory over No. 3 Palisade Prep, the defending Class C champs.
Woodlands (15-5), the No. 6 seed, advanced to play No. 7 Rye Neck on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals at the County Center.
Junior Ross Joseph led a typically balanced effort with 22 points and seven rebounds, but Abdoulaye Sow and Jamil Gambari had 14 points apiece and Brandon Johnson grabbed 13 boards.
“We have a lot of players who can get their own shots off, create shots for others and really help make an impact on this team,” Joseph said. “I think that’s what really separates us from the rest of Class B.”
Case in point: The Falcons had the better of Section 1’s only team with two 1,000-point scorers. They frustrated senior Isaiah Ward into four quick fouls, including a technical, and held senior Kevin Sabino to a quiet nine points.
Palisade Prep (16-4) was whistled for three technicals in the first half alone.
“Woodlands is a very disciplined team and we looked very undisciplined in the first half,” said Phoenix coach Sean Stahn, whose team lost its first home game since opening the gym last season. “We were able to hang with them, but we couldn’t match their intensity.
Palisade Prep fell behind 34-19 before an 11-0 run cut that deficit to four behind Ward (11 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists) and senior Brandon Tate (12 points) early in the fourth quarter.
Sow hit a corner 3-pointer on the next possession off a feed from Joseph. That sparked a 24-8 closing response and sent Woodlands back to the final four after a two-year absence.
“It means a lot,” Johnson said. “We really thought a lot about going to the County Center. And now we are.”