Woodland boys’ loss sets up win-or-out

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BEACON FALLS — The Hawks’ playoff hopes will be realized or dashed in the final game of the regular season. Woodland (7-12, 6-12 NVL) sustained a 62-61 defeat against St. Paul (10-7, 10-7 NVL) Thursday night, setting up a win-or-out scenario for Tuesday’s senior night contest with Seymour (11-7, 10-7 NVL).

Bryan Spickle reached for this rebound, but it was Seymour that won the battle on the boards—and Tuesday’s game.
Victory was out of reach for Bryan Spickle and the Hawks in their first meeting with Seymour, last month. Now, they must beat the Wildcats to earn a Class M state tournament berth.

The game against the Falcons was tight throughout. The teams were tied, 33-33, at the half, and the Black and Gold led by one, entering the fourth quarter. Yahmad Rountree had a big night for Woodland, scoring 17 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, but St. Paul’s Byron Jones was even better. The senior, who recently committed to play football at UConn, poured in 23 and 15 to lead the visitors.

The Falcons’ defense frustrated WRHS point guard Ryan Genua all night, keeping him off the scoreboard. Bryan Spickle, Ryan Angeloszek and Shaine Thompson did their best to make up for it, contributing 16, 13 and 12 points, respectively, but they and Rountree just didn’t get enough support. Only one other Hawk, Ian Bures, managed to score; he had three points.

Now, Woodland must beat the Wildcats in the finale to earn its first state tournament berth since 2005. Seymour beat Woodland, 55-44, Jan. 19, when the Hawks ran out of gas in the second half. WRHS led by four at halftime but was outscored, 35-20, after the break.