BANGOR, Maine — Sometimes, a basketball team’s best offense is its defense.
Even though the Woodland girls struggled from an offensive standpoint in Saturday’s Class D state championship game against Valley of Bingham, the Dragons’ defense was stifling, as usual.
Coach Arnie Clark’s club made key defensive plays and free throws to grab its second straight state title with a 49-35 win over the Cavaliers at the Bangor Auditorium.
Woodland caps an undefeated campaign at 21-0 while Valley finished 17-4.
Senior Julia Nicholas spurred a balanced Woodland offense with a game-high 15 points while Taylor Cochran and Ariel Knights had nine apiece and Molly White added seven.
After leading by only six at halftime, the Dragons came storming out of the locker room, opening the third on a 9-2 run, capped by Knights’ conventional three-point play.
Woodland eventually stretched that out to 15 as the quarter came to an end, finally putting Clark’s team in control.
But like a pit bull fighting for a bone, the Cavaliers refused to let go, starting the fourth quarter on a 9-3 run to draw back within seven.
Woodland’s confidence and experience, however, were unshakable, as Nicholas went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final two minutes while the Dragons held Valley without a field goal over the contest’s final 2:17.
Knights and White had four steals apiece for Woodland.
Cindy Schultz paced Valley with 14 points while Jocelyn Lawyerson added 10 more.