Woodlawn takes down Lewistown, 56-44; Faces Macon Meridian for Class 1A Title

PEORIA - Woodlawn's Magical Mystery Tour continued with yet another successful stop.

Or should it be “Stops?”

The Cardinals threw a blanket on Lewistown on Friday afternoon – covering up the defending fourth place team in the state in a 56-44 victory that sends Woodlawn into the Class 1A state title game.

In fact they took all of the mystery out of the outcome in the final quarter by making 11-of-12 free throws in the final 2:44 of the contest.

Bronson Verhines scored 16-points and grabbed 10-rebounds in the contest that turned into a rout at the end of the game – which was par-for-the-course for a Jefferson County club that used its superior bench to once again wear down another victim.

Lewistown was just 17-of-48 from the field (35.4 percent) and couldn't muster any offensive runs against the 30-1 Cardinals.

Defensively the Cardinals rejected nine Indians' shots in the win which brings the Southern Illinois team just one victory away from a state championship.

Coach Shane Witzel's club put three players in double-figures in scoring with Dawson Verhines and Jase Green adding 14 and 10 to the 56-total.

Quinton Hatfill topped the 25-9 Indians with 14-points but no other Lewistown player hit for more than seven points in defeat.

'I was pretty happy with the way we started the game. I didn't know how we would react. Offensively we got into a good flow,” said Woodlawn mentor Shane Witzel. “Once they switched up the defense to a 2-3 we had worked pretty heavily on that and we hit some big shots.”

Woodlawn was 20-of-44 from the floor on Friday afternoon and tailed off in the second half by connecting on just 8-of-20 in the final two quarters.

But on the defensive end of the floor – the Cards shined like a new penny as they allowed Lewistown to shoot just 8-of-22 from the field in the last 16-minutes – which on this day wasn't going to get the job done.

The Birds also ruled the rebounding nest which didn't allow for many second chances for their opponent.

“We didn't rebound as well as we needed to,” said Lewistown head coach Brad Hatfill – whose club was out boarded 33-26 by Woodlawn. “We didn't shoot the ball as well as we needed to win the game. I give them (Woodlawn) credit; they are a good defensive team.”

Lewistown showed its quickness early and had a few leads on the scoreboard in the opening half.

Lewistown's Zach Duncan started a 6-2 run with a 3-pointer and Quinton Hatfill hit 1-of-2 free throws to end the scoring wave at 23-22 Indians with 2:22 left before intermission.

That turned out to be the final time that they had the lead.

A 7-0 scoring procession keyed by five points from Dawson Verhines gave Woodlawn a 29-23 halftime advantage.

Dawson took a pass from brother Bronson for a trifecta from the top of the arc and then he beat the second quarter buzzer with a drive to the basket for the six-point lead.

Lewistown hit just 3-of-10 shots in the third quarter as Woodlawn's defensive effort paid dividends.

Back-to-back baskets by Brother's Verhines and a rebound basket by Josh Wiggs pushed the Cardinals lead to 39-30 with 2:36 remaining.

The lead could have been more but the Cardinals committed five of their eight turnovers in the third quarter.

However they put the whole package together in the fourth frame.

Once again the Woodlawn “pine patrol” gave the starters all the rest that they needed in the first three quarters and when the Cardinals turned the corner and headed for home – Lewistown could only watch as the tail lights got smaller and smaller.

“That (our bench) has been a luxury for us this year,” Witzel added. “We don't normally have this depth but with Josh Wiggs, Luke Simmons, Jesse Hart and Jordan Wehrheim have all done an outstanding job of accepting their roles and understanding how important that is to play the style of how we wanted to play this year. It is as good as I could have hoped for. It was something that we wanted to do after last year because we knew that we were going to have a bench.”

Woodlawn ran a spread offensive in the final minutes and forced the Indians to chase.

The end result was a successful free throw parade by the Cardinals.

Eight consecutive made free throws by Bronson, Dawson and Jase Green put icing on the semifinal cake.

Lewistown failed to make a dent in the Cardinals lead because of seven missed field goals in the fourth period.

“Defensively we guarded well. They (Lewistown) have some quick guards and we knew that was going to be a key coming into this game,” added Coach Witzel. “We had to stop the dribble penetration.”

The Cardinals will face Macon Meridian on Saturday afternoon in the championship game after the Hawks held off Annawan, 51-47 in the other Class 1A Semifinal.

“It was one of those games where we got behind a little bit early and it gradually got away from us,” said Lewistown's head coach Brad Hatfill. “They are a very difficult team to catch up to and our scouting report was – if you get behind them they are really tough.”


Woodlawn (56) – Green 0 2 4-4 10, B. Verhines 6 0 4-4 16, Boldt 2 0 0-0 4, D. Verhines 4 1 3-4 14, Hammond 3 0 0-0 6, Wiggs 2 0 2-4 6, Aparicio 0 0 0-0 0, Hart 0 0 0-0 0, Simmons 0 0 0-0 0, Wehrheim 0 0 0-0 0.2FG-17, 3FG-3, FT-13-16, PF-11.
Lewistown (44) – Simpson 2 1 0-0 7, Jugovic 3 0 1-2 7, S. Parrish 1 0 0-0 2, Hatfill 4 0 6-7 14, Burrows 4 0 0-0 8, Johnson 0 0 0-0 0, Howerter 0 0 0-0 0, Sepich 0 0 0-0 0, Cleer 0 0 0-0 0, Duncan 0 1 0-0 3, Shubert 1 0 0-0 2, C. Parrish 0 0 0-0 0, Battefeld 0 0 0-0 0, Rilea 0 0 1-2 1. 2FG-15, 3FG-2, FT-8-11, PF-17.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls – None.