SHERIDAN — Aaron Woodward buried three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Thursday to propel the Sheridan Broncs basketball team in a comeback win over Evanston in the opening round of the 4A state tournament.
The Broncs trailed by 1 heading into the fourth quarter but outscored Evanston 22-14 in the final period to secure a 46-39 victory.
Sheridan shot 7 of 16 (44 percent) from beyond the arc for the game. Woodward finished with 11 points to go with seven rebounds, and Coy Steel led the Broncs with 14 points.
The Broncs took a 9-7 lead in the first quarter and stretched it by a couple more baskets in the second before the turnover bug struck late in the half. Sheridan finished with 20 turnovers for the game and had 11 in the first half.
The turnovers allowed Evanston to snatch a 19-17 halftime lead.
Both teams struggled offensively out of the halftime break, combining for 13 points in the third period. Sheridan’s defense caused problems for the Red Devils, holding them scoreless for a stretch of nearly five minutes in the quarter.
The defense opened the door for the offense.
Woodward’s first 3 of the game
Woodward’s first 3 of the game gave Sheridan a 27-25 lead in the fourth quarter, the team’s first lead of the second half. After a 6-0 Evanston run, Woodward drained another 3 to cut the deficit to 1.
Sheridan regained the lead and drew back-to-back charge calls before Woodward’s final 3 of the quarter gave Sheridan a 38-31 lead with 2:40 left to play.
The Broncs, who shot just 9 for 20 (45 percent) from the foul line on the day, made 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch to secure the win. Drew Boedecker went 4 for 4 in the closing minutes. Boedecker drew one of the earlier charge calls and avoided being disqualified with his fifth foul.
While the Broncs took care of business defensively — 10 steals and 21 forced turnovers — the shooting struggles continued, especially in the first half. Sheridan finished 38 percent from the field for the game but shot just 33 percent in the first half and 25 percent beyond the arc.
The Broncs offense will have its work cut out for it in Friday’s semifinal.
Sheridan takes on West No. 1 seed Kelly Walsh at 7:30 p.m. The Trojans have the state’s top defense, allowing just 45 points per game and holding opponents to 37 percent shooting.
Sheridan and Kelly Walsh met once during the regular season. The Trojans took a 63-58 victory over the Broncs on Jan. 5.