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Woodlands didn't have an ideal start to the season, falling to Section 2's Guilderland in its opener at the Saratoga Spring Tip-Off Tournament this past weekend.
Now, however, it all seems like a distant memory.
The Falcons, who bounced back to defeat Glens Falls in the consolation game, carried that momentum back downstate and into their home opener against Tuckahoe on Tuesday.
It wasn't easy, but Woodlands (2-1) extended its winning streak to two games with a hard-fought 60-53 win over the scrappy Tigers (0-1).
"That first game we came out nervous and inexperienced, but we came out hard on Saturday and carried that into today," senior center Da'Sean Downey said.
It was Downey who carried the Falcons in crunch time, scoring seven of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory. D'Andre Tilford, who knocked down a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers, added 13 points. Teammates Jamil Gambari (10 points), Ross Joseph (eight points) and Abdoulaye Sow (six points) rounded out the balanced scoring effort for the Falcons.
The Tigers, who won last year's NYS Class C title, were led by Kayvon Reid's team-high 14 points. Shyheim Nixon and Maurice Hollis added 11 points apiece.
Tuckahoe (0-1) came out on fire to grab a 22-19 first-quarter lead, but the hot shooting was short-lived. The Tigers were held to six second-quarter points and trailed 32-28 at the break.
Woodlands amped up its full-court press to take control of the game, cashing in on easy transition buckets off Tuckahoe turnovers.
"We have a lot of real quick guards, so I tip the ball or somebody picks it off and we just run 3-on-2," said Downey, who pulled down seven rebounds.
Both teams struggled offensively to open the second half, combining for just 17 third-quarter points. The Falcons went six-for-10 from the charity stripe during the quarter and held a 40-37 lead heading into the fourth.
Nixon buried a 3-pointer inside the final minute of regulation to cut Woodlands' lead to 56-53, however, a comeback simply wasn't in the cards. Downey, who went to the line after getting fouled by Nixon, converted a pair of free throws to put the finishing touches on the win.
"We just practiced 24/7 on boxing out and hitting late free throws," Downey said. "It definitely feels good."
Woodlands will look to keep the good vibes rolling as it hosts Ramapo on December 10. Tuckahoe, meanwhile, hosts Dobbs Ferry on December 12.