Isis Woods is committed to her craft at Pulaski Academy, but in her eyes, commitment is part of her job description.
"As a senior, you want to lead by example, and that's what I try to do ... just put in the work," she said. "I've had to step up more and be that leader, and I knew that coming into the season. I was constantly reminded of it, but I was more than up for it."
Woods at a glance
SCHOOL Pulaski Academy
NOTEWORTHY Sports a 3.9 GPA. … Played for the Arkansas Mavs Elite in AAU summer ball. … Has nearly doubled her scoring average from 7.5 to 13 points per game this year. … Finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in a victory over Searcy during the Cabot Invitational Tournament in early December.
Things are looking up for Pulaski Academy with Woods at the controls. The Lady Bruins are 12-2 after running their winning streak to eight games after an 85-19 dismantling of Mills on Friday night. Pulaski Academy didn't have to lean on Woods much against a Lady Comets team that'd previously lost nine games by at least 25 points, but she still found a way to make an impact in what amounted to a little less than two quarters of action.
Woods has had big scoring outings this season, but she took just five shots and scored four points against Mills. She added 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots while playing lockdown defense on the perimeter and occasionally in the post. That kind of stat line is not out of the ordinary for the 5-7 guard.
"She's very unselfish," Pulaski Academy Coach Rick Treadway said. "She's going to do whatever it takes, whether it's scoring the ball, getting in there grabbing rebounds. She'd just as soon make a nice pass than to take a shot. That's just the kind of player she is."
As a junior, Woods was more of a complementary piece for a young but talented Lady Bruins squad. Pulaski Academy had a roster full of underclassmen and relied heavily on then-senior all-state guard Mattie Hatcher. Despite the youth and the fact that opposing teams game-planned to stop Hatcher, the Lady Bruins finished 19-10, with their final two losses occurring in the postseason to the two teams -- Berryville and Batesville -- that eventually played for the Class 4A state title.
But Treadway knew what he had in store this year when others didn't.
"I think a lot of people thought that we'd take a step back with Mattie being gone because she was such a good scorer," he said. "But I think the girls simply wanted to prove that they could be better. They've been motivated and tend to look at it as, 'Hey, why not us?' We've got a little extra motivation over here anyway because there's never been a state champion from PA as far as girls basketball goes. So they've just been driven. They worked their tails off in the offseason, and now they're coming together as a unit. You can see it every day in practice, and Isis is one of those at the forefront of all of that."
Treadway noted it didn't take long for him to realize Woods was ready to jump into the team's conductor's seat.
"When they step in here in August and they're a senior, you kind of see a different look in their eyes," he explained, "and I've seen that in Isis from the beginning, even back during the summertime. Isis had that look like, 'Hey, this is my group,' and I don't mean that in a bad way.
"She's had that eye of the tiger from the start, like get behind me and let's go. She's not one to chew out anybody, but she doesn't mind looking at them and letting them know they need to turn things up a notch when needed."
Woods averaged 7.5 points per game a year ago, but as one of four seniors on the team, she's increased that to just over 13 this season. She also hands out nearly five assists per game, which has allowed her other classmates to evolve. Jazmene McMillan, a 5-9 forward, leads the team in scoring at 16 points while Katie Hindmon, a 6-0 center, averages a team-high 7.5 rebounds. Macy Williams, a 5-11 forward, is also one of the Lady Bruins' top players off the bench. All three have had a major impact on Pulaski Academy's success, but it's Woods who steers the ship.
"I just try to get everyone on the same page, the same idea of our goal, which is to win a state championship," Woods said. "I think we're doing really well right now, but we can always be better. For me, I've got to be better, especially by not turning the ball over. I can also be more aggressive by getting to the rim and improving on my defense. There's room for improvement in all circumstances."
Sports on 01/12/2020
Print Headline: Woods' leadership gives Lady Bruins extra push