A full 11 days had passed since Stratford’s last game, the GHSA Region 7-1A championship win over FPD. It was hard to tell.
Stratford took control midway through the first quarter and only strengthened its grip en route to a 52-36 win Wednesday over visiting Aquinas in a Class 1 private school girls playoff game. The Eagles improved to 20-5 with their sixth straight win, while the Irish’s season ended at 20-8.
The Irish had no answer for most anything Stratford did. Casey Woodcock, the Eagles, 6-foot junior, was tough inside and outside. She led the Eagles with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Mary Elaine Mitchell added 10 points.
Stratford got its first double-digit lead on two Woodcock free throws with 2:27 left in the second quarter, and the Eagles led 30-16 at the half, boosted by a long 3 from Mitchell in the waning seconds. The Eagles doubled up the Irish early in the third quarter. The margin peaked at 22 and never dropped below 14 in the second half.
Three who mattered
Woodcock: Her first shot was a 3 —and it was good — and her next bucket a few minutes later was a drive, and then she hit two free throws. That was her night in a nutshell, scoring in all phases.
Mitchell: With scorer Evans McCook done for the season with a broken ankle, the Eagles need some help on offense, and Mitchell did her part in her new role. She drained a last-second 3 to end the first half and give the Eagles even more momentum.
Jasmine Sanders: The junior guard was a pest on defense in a physical game, and led the Irish with 13 points, including some long 3-pointers.
Two and 0: It was Stratford’s second win over Aquinas this season. The Eagles won 44-40 at home in early December.
They said it
Stratford head coach Ed Smith on rust worries: “I think offensively, it was probably a little better (than expected). Defensively, I thought we were well-prepared and played pretty good. We’ve still got to stop the dribble a little more. But offensively, I thought it was a pretty good game for us. Fifty-two (points) with Evans out, that was a pretty good night.”
Woodcock on it being a normal game for her: “I’m kind of all over the place sometimes with my game.”
Smith on Woodcock: “She is a scorer. She has not always played with a scorer’s mentality. But she’s a great shooter. She is an offensive player.”
Woodcock on 11 days between games: “I was worried about the time off. All that time worried me. By the middle of the fourth quarter, I thought we had it.”
Smith on the Eagles maintaining focus: “I saw (Aquinas) Friday night. They were down 17-1, fought back and won. We knew you couldn’t relax against them.”
Stratford hosts Holy Innocents’, a 65-28 winner over Tattnall Square, on Tuesday.