By Matt Lofgren | Correspondent
Woodridge's electric home court advantage wasn't enough Friday night as the Bombers of Windham came in and left with a 78-64 win over the Bulldogs.
With both stands rocking it was Windham (12-1, 8-0 PTC County Division) that prevailed, using a selfless team effort to power through to a win.
"This win, it's big. It's really big," Bombers senior Parker Rickey said. "Especially in this gym, when it feels like everyone's touching you. It's probably the biggest win of the year right here."
Echoing what Rickey had to say about the atmosphere, Windham head coach Marty Hill said that the win was huge for the team in the conference.
"This is a tough place to play year in and year out," Hill said. "I scouted them Tuesday and they've been playing really well, so we were really nervous about this game and it's a huge win for us on the road. A lot of people thought because we beat them at home that we were going to come up here and play poorly, but I thought the kids really stepped up and showed some character."
Rickey led the Bombers in scoring with 20 points, making four long range 3-pointers. Rickey was also crucial in the rebounding game as he grabbed seven boards.
The Bombers led by 11 at the half and looked like they were going to continue to assert their dominance over Woodridge. But whatever Bulldogs head coach Brian Fantone told his players at halftime really left a lasting impression.
Woodridge (5-6, 4-4) went off for four straight buckets off of Windham turnovers in a time span of 43 seconds, pulling the score to 46-41 with over 10 minutes of game time left as the Bulldogs' home cheering section was blowing the roof off the gymnasium.
"We talked before we came up here, you've got to watch because they get a couple of fastbreaks and then you want to run conservative, but they're just so athletic," Hill said. "They just come out of nowhere and tip the ball away."
Fantone said he was happy with the way his team played in spurts, but the 26 turnovers committed by his offense doomed the team's chances of getting a win.
"The difference tonight was free throws," Fantone said. "We had identical field goals, 27 for both groups, but they were 17-of-20 from the line and we were 3-of-9. We lose the game by 14, 14 free throws."
Windham's effectiveness from the charity stripe came from good ball movement all game long. Using the extra pass to set up seemingly easy layups, Woodridge often was forced to commit fouls to slow the Bombers down.
Finally in the fourth quarter, Windham slowed down its offense and corrected mistakes to reassert command. The Bombers ended the third quarter on a 9-0 run, then ended the game on a high note with several players finishing strong.
Next up for Windham is a PTC cross-division matchup in Mantua against Crestwood on Tuesday.