Girls Basketball: Woodridge Scores Game Winner For CPU
By Jeff Linder, Reporter
MOUNT VERNON — It took Arika Wooldridge some time to learn her role with the Center Point-Urbana girls’ basketball team.
“They want me to score, and if I’m not open, they want me to pass it out,” she said.
Heroism, that’s gravy.
Wooldridge grabbed an offensive rebound and scored at the buzzer as Class 3A 13th-ranked CPU beat No. 15 Union, 40-38 in overtime as part of Rivalry Saturday at the Small Multi-Sports Center.
It was the second buzzer-beater in the life of the much-anticipated freshman, who had been an elite junior player for the Cedar Rapids Panthers for several years.
“I got one this summer in AAU ball,” she said.
The Stormin’ Pointers won their fifth straight game and improved to 9-3. They would have been sunk had Kennedy Salow not made two free throws with 3.2 seconds left in regulation.
“We like having her at the line,” said CPU Coach Philip Klett.
Woolridge’s basket ended a game that seemed stuck in second gear through much of the contest. Union (5-5) led, 12-9, after a first half in which the teams combined for six field goals.
A flow finally materialized in the second half, setting the stage for an exciting finish. There were eight lead changes after intermission.
Union’s Sam Barz collected 13 points and 15 rebounds, and her free throw put the Knights up 37-36 with 1:13 left in overtime.
Salow hit two more clutch free throws, 12 seconds later, for a one-point CPU edge. Union’s Payton Hilton made one of two foul shots to tie it.
After an empty possession by Union, the Stormin’ Pointers set up for a final shot.
Salow got an open late to the basket but missed a contested shot as the final seconds ticked off. But Wooldridge was there to make the winning play.
“I just happened to be at the right place,” she said.
Right place, right time.
Salow added 11 points for CPU. Hilton led the Knights with 14.
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