SHOWING HER STUFF – Tia Woodarek gets on the fast track in a game against East Aurora.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville seniors Alena and Tia Woodarek have been selected to play in the Cheektowaga Lions Club Exceptional Senior game March 22 at Cheektowaga High School. As members of Springville’s varsity basketball team, Alena and Tia were two of 40 seniors from all over Section VI to be invited. The 40 seniors will be broken up into four teams, with two teams playing in game No. 1 and two teams playing in game No. 2.
Tia was also named a unanimous first team division all star as well, voted on by league coaches, for the second-straight season and she took all-league honors – having made second team last season.
“Tia [is] just a force of nature on the court,” Springville coach Chris Mathewson said. “[She’s] a very intuitive player excellent at making quick decisions on the move that exploited any poor choice made by the defense. More than once coach (Bob) Gainey and I marveled to each other on the bench ‘how’d she make that shot?’”
She averaged 13.4 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game to lead the team in both categories. Tia led the team with 214 points despite missing three games early in the season while she was recovering from a concussion.
“She’s one of those players that the ball seemed to gravitate to whether on an offensive rebound, in transition or in the flow of the offense,” Mathewson said. “She’s able to play inside or out offensively and able to guard all five positions defensively.”
Tia’s versatility allowed Mathewson to put five guards on the floor, at times. The 5-foot-7 Woodarek was an undersized forward but she was able to create mismatches for opposing defenses. Mathewson recalled the St. Marys of Lancaster coach telling him after the game:”I got nobody close to matching up with that girl”
She scored a game-high 23 points in the game. St. Marys had 27 points as a team.
Alena averaged 8.5 points per game and led the team in steals with 33. Other duties included running the team playing point guard and guarding one of opposing team’s best ball handler.
“[She’] a great competitor, always willing to take on ball handling responsibilities for us and eager to defend other teams’ best ball handlers, ”Mathewson said “[She’s] a student of the game always asking questions about her skill development, game situations, 2nd or 3rd options of plays – looking to improve.”
Mathewson noted the she was also asking questions and trying to understand the game as much as possible. He recalled Alena asking “What if we can’t get the first pass?” in regard to an end of game transition play.
“[She’s] smart, thoughtful, very athletic and an aggressive defender,” Mathewson said. “When we needed to fill the scoring void by her sister’s injury in the early season, she averaged 11 points a game. I thought she was worthy of all star consideration but we probably needed to go further in the playoffs to have a second girl selected.”
Both players put together three-year careers on the varsity basketball team as well as five-year careers on the Springville soccer team. They both have received scholarships to play D-II soccer at Southern New Hampshire University after graduation.
“They have both contributed so much the Lady Griff Basketball program and will be missed greatly, ”Mathewson said. “I know the opposing coaches are glad to see them graduate.”