The Lady Panther basketball team will enter district play Friday after winning 10 of their last 12 games, including the last four games. Woodlawn carries a 20-6 record going into district.
Seniors Amaya Dedeaux, Qiana Dotch, Adrienne East, and Reagan McDowell were recognized at Senior Night versus Capitol on Wednesday, January 25th. Woodlawn came away with a 62 to 35 victory.
“We are playing confidently right now,” said Dedeaux. “But we understand that the district is tough, and we will be playing very tough teams. So we have to pick our play up a notch.”
In front of a large crowd, the Lady Panthers and Lady Lions traded baskets for much of the first quarter Wednesday night. Once Woodlawn settled down defensively, they took a lead they would not relinquish. Woodlawn led at the end of each quarter.
“Coach Dedeaux stressed defense at halftime,” said Dotch. “She said that we had to take care of the basics, play fundamental basketball, and play hard on defense. She said that if we did those things, the offense would come naturally.”
“I just think that it was an emotional night for everybody because it was Senior Night,” added Dotch. “Once we got past those emotions, we settled down and played better.”
Woodlawn currently has a top-ten power ranking, according to GeauxPreps.com. However, the seniors know that they have to finish the season strong to keep that ranking and a home playoff game.
“Having a home playoff game in the first round would be extremely important to us,” said Dedeaux. “We need to perform at our highest level to keep our power ranking high enough to host that first round game.”
Following the district opener at Central, Woodlawn will host Scotlandville on January 31st. The Lady Panthers will then travel to Zachary on February 3rd.
Woodlawn finishes the final week of the regular season by hosting Liberty on February 7th and traveling to St. Joseph’s Academy on February 9th.
Tickets for all home games can be purchased by following the link here.
A new era of Woodlawn High boys basketball will officially tip off Tuesday under new coach Stefson Arnold.
The Panthers open the season at Port Allen, the three-time defending Class 2A state champion, with plenty of lessons, gelling and adjustments still ahead after an abridged offseason.
But Arnold, who led Family Christian to a Class C title game in his lone season as head coach in 2020-21, wants his players focused on lofty goals despite having only been together two months thus far.
“As you know, I’m a firm believer in ‘championship or bust,'” he said. “Just coming in, it’s going to be hard to keep those goals right away, but at the same time I still expect that. What I want to do is get better every single week and every single game, continue to be better than what we were last time out and every time we leave a game the other team to be saying, ‘Man, we played really, really hard.’ If we go out there and play hard every single game, we’ll let that take us wherever it can.”
The coach said the timing of his September has led to a shifted schedule in which the Panthers have looked at their preseason scrimmages similar to typical summer league play and the opening weeks of the season similar to those typical preseason matches.
Arnold hopes to get a better sense of the expectations and potential of his players from seeing full game film of their performances against meaningful competition.
But he has been pleased with the early indicators.
“I’ve learned they’re definitely committed to what I’m asking them to do, the 5 a.m. practices, the showing up on time,” he said. “The first step is always the players buying in. It’s just going to take a little while for those guys to get really clicking and get the process going. But I’ve learned that they’re committed, and if you have a team that’s committed, eventually we’ll be able to figure things out throughout the season.”
Woodlawn returns senior guard Clayton Adams, junior guard Tyler Knox, junior wings Roy Recasner and Myron Nelson and sophomore post player Kelinee Stone among key players likely to lead the rotation to start the season.
And sophomore wings Elijah Scott and Jordan Woods are among newer faces Arnold hopes to see making significant contributions.
“This team is looking to create its identity,” the coach said. “We have some good pieces to build around and the future is bright. We will get better each game and as the season progresses. This young group of kids are determined to compete at the highest level. Under a first-year coach and a new system, this team is going to have to learn quickly and execute as planned. But the attitude is positive, the energy is there, and so is the toughness. When we bring all that together and execute, we’ll be tough for any team to handle.”
The Woodlawn High volleyball team learned its next opponent Monday as the LHSAA released its playoff brackets.
Coach Maria Gonzalez and the Panthers (23-13) earned the No. 24 seed in the Division-I tournament and will travel Wednesday to No. 9 Archbishop Chapelle (21-15) for a first-round matchup at 5:30 p.m. at the Metairie school.
“They’re good,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody’s going to have to be on. Nobody can have a bad game if we want to compete with them. That’s the bottom line. We can compete with them. But everybody’s got to be on. So hopefully that happens.”
Woodlawn and Chapelle haven’t played in at least a decade, but the Chipmunks participated in the Panthers’ early-season tournament Labor Day weekend.
“We didn’t play them, but they were here,” Gonzalez said. “So I got to watch them play, and I have film on them. They’re just a good, fundamental New Orleans all-girls school team. So we can’t make mistakes.”
Chapelle finished fourth in a loaded District 7-I that features four of the top 13 seeds in the division along with No. 1 Dominican, No. 2 Mount Carmel and No. 13 Chalmette.
Woodlawn finished third in a District 4-I led by No. 6 St. Joseph’s Academy and No. 11 Central (Baton Rouge).
The Panthers’ 23-13 record marked the program’s best record in more than a decade.
“I wanted to get to 20 wins,” Gonzalez said. “That was our first goal, and we did and exceeded that and got three more wins. We should’ve one a little more, but that’s part of it. But we usually lose in the first round, so our second goal is to get past the first round. So hopefully we can do that.”
The winner will advance to face the winner between No. 8 Natchitoches Central and No. 25 H.L. Bourgeois.