Christmas Tournament: Woodland comes from behind to eliminate Kelly

Friday, December 28, 2012

Garrett Reynolds scored 27 points -- including 19 in the second half -- as Woodland broke a 10-year Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament winless drought with a 55-45 victory over Kelly in a consolation quarterfinal Friday at the Show Me Center.

Woodland (2-8) trailed 31-21 early in the second half before Reynolds ignited a 12-2 Cardinals run with a 3-pointer from the wing, then culminated the streak by hitting a floater on a drive down the lane that knotted the score 33-33 at the 1:34 mark of the third quarter.

It stayed close until two free throws by Reynolds late in the fourth quarter gave 13th-seeded Woodland a five-point cushion at 48-43. From there the Cardinals iced the game at the free throw line.

"It comes down to free throws, turnovers and rebounds," said Woodland coach Ryan Garnett. "If we can execute and be on the better side of those things, we can win some games."

Reynolds echoed his coaches sentiments.

"Free throws, turnovers and rebounds, especially offensive rebounds, are the difference in close games," he said.

Nothing drove home that point better than the fact the Cardinals -- after missing their first five free throw attempts of the ball game -- at one point made 11 straight at the line, an important part of their third-quarter 12-2 run.

"Free throws are huge," Garnett said. "Those are some of the things we focus on every day. We don't always do it, but we did it tonight, and we saw the benefits of what that will give you in a close game.

"We showed a lot of maturity (Friday) that will help us as the season goes on."

Kelly (2-8) had a solid first half before settling into a funk.

"We came out pretty strong. We just didn't play a good second half," Kelly coach Josh Eftink said. "I thought we looked tired in the second half. We made some mental mistakes that let them back in it."

Reynolds noted the Cardinals did just the opposite.

"In the beginning, we came out flat," he said. "I donąt know if it was the early (9 a.m.) start or what. But in the second half we picked up the intensity level."

When Reynolds wasnąt hitting from outside or going to the line, he was setting up teammates for easy put-ins underneath. Reynolds was 5-of-6 from the line in the final period, while Woodland as a team hit 18 of 24 free throws in the game.

"Garrett is the epitome of leadership and character," Garnett said. "Without him, we have no focus on the court. He leads by example. ... All the other guys feed off his energy."

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