WOODWARD — Saturday’s road trip for the Woodward-Granger boys basketball team will be less than to several places on the regular season schedule.
The Hawks (21-2) will face the Blue Demons of Albia (18-3) at 7 p.m. at Valley High School in West Des Moines. Tickets, as per the IHSAA, are $8. The winner will advance to the Class 2A state tournament.
The teams have similar overall statistics. W-G averages 65 points per game and Albia 58.3, with the Hawks shooting 32.5 percent on 3-pointers and 68.1 percent at the free throw line while the Blue Demons hit 32.3 percent and 58.4 percent, respectively.
Blake Chance leads Albia at 13.7 points per game. He has made 145 assists and has pulled down 108 rebounds.
Teammate Brayden Messamaker scores at an 11.7 clip and has splashed 51-of-123 (41.5 percent) beyond the 3-point arc.
Byrce Achenbach (16.8) and Keith Braunschweig (11.2) are the leading scorers for W-G.
Three Hawks — Reese Jamison (114), Achenbach (105) and Braunschweig (102) — have more than 100 rebounds, with Achenbach having 119 assists and 56 steals while Kaya Bowlsby has made 51 thefts.
The defensive edge favors W-G. The Hawks are allowing just 42.5 points per game as opposed to 52.7 by the Blue Demons, and W-G has almost double the number of steals, at 281 to 141.
The W-G average margin of victory (22.5) dwarfs that of Albia (6.9) and is fifth-best in 2A. The Hawks are 4-2 in games decided by 10 or fewer points, with the Blue Demons 4-1 in similar games.
W-G’s losses are 58-57 at Panorama (who is in the Substate 8 Final) Dec. 6 and 54-45 to Van Meter Jan. 23, a loss the Hawks avenged Tuesday. Albia fell Jan. 7 to Washington (63-50), Jan. 21 at Centerville (66-56) and Feb. 10 against Ankeny Christian (79-52).
The Class 2A State Tournament will begin with quarterfinal games at 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. March 9, with the four quarterfinal starting at 9:30 a.m. March 10.