published Monday, December 24th, 2012

Erika Woodfin has hot hand for Dade County girls basketball

Heritage's Alex Belk (10) tries to steal the ball from Dade County's Erika Woodfin during the Ridgeland Thanksgiving Classic basketball tournament held at Ridgeland High School.
Heritage's Alex Belk (10) tries to steal the ball from Dade County's Erika Woodfin during the Ridgeland Thanksgiving Classic basketball tournament held at Ridgeland High School.
Photo by Alyson Wright.

Unlike their male counterparts, the Dade County girls basketball team likes to use a nice blend of balance on the court. They do have the ability to beat teams down low, with future University of Tennessee at Chattanooga center Ansley Chilton on the inside, but if teams choose to sag inside, they will find another problem.

Erika Woodfin on the outside.

The Lady Wolverine senior had an excellent shooting week, hitting 13 3-pointers and averaging 18.7 points per game as the team went 2-1 on the week. Her accomplishments were enough to earn her Times Free Press Player of the Week honors.

Woodfin got progressively better from the arc as the week went along. She hit a pair of triples and had 17 points in a win over LaFayette Tuesday, then followed that up with five 3s and 19 points when the team defeated Jenkins High School out of Kentucky in the Smoky Mountain Shootout on Friday.

Saturday she finished with six 3s and 20 points, but the team dropped a close decision to Paintsville (Ky.). Dade is 10-2 heading into the extended break, as they'll take a few days off before returning to practice. They will travel to face Calhoun in a Region 7-AA game on Jan. 3.

"She struggled early, but the last two weeks she's shot well and played well," Dade coach Randy Watson said. "Erika's our scorer; when she gets hers and Ansley can get going, there's no pressure.

"I think we're starting to play good basketball when we have to. We have good balance; we don't play as fast as the boys - there's no chance, because we're not the most athletic group - so we work on our shooting because it's a great equalizer. We feel like we can put more kids out there that are capable of hitting."

The team dropped an 11-point decision on Model on Dec. 11. Watson felt that the defeat woke the team up and helped them realize what they'd have to do to improve on their first-round state playoff loss last year. Model was an Elite Eight team a season ago.

"When we lost to Model, we felt we didn't play particularly well," Watson said. "All of the seniors started to play better; they understand what it takes to get it done. They're a veteran group of great leaders that realize their team is short and they have to work hard.

"Erika is one of those players and she definitely stepped it up a little bit."

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