The girls basketball team won its first state championship since 1999 this year, but the road to victory began last school year when they watched Woodward boys basketball take the title. As they sat cheering for the boys championship run while also watching the other girls teams play in the final tournament games last season, they said out loud and quietly resolved to themselves that they would be playing in Macon next year.
After completing a perfect 14-0 region schedule and capturing the Region 3-AAAAA Championship, the War Eagles entered the 2021 AAAAA State Tournament as the #1 seed and ranked #1 in AAAAA. Woodward Academy breezed through the first two rounds of the tournament, defeating Harris County 75-30 in round one and Coffee County 71-44 in round two. In the quarterfinals, the War Eagles faced a strong and talented team in #5 ranked Southwest DeKalb. Woodward battled through a hard-fought game, coming out on top 70-59 to advance to the AAAAA Semifinals. Woodward Academy then faced Griffin High School in the semifinals with a trip to Macon on the line. The War Eagles hounded the Griffin Bears on defense all night and earned a spot in the AAAAA Championship game with a 75-52 win.
The AAAAA State Championship game pitted the War Eagles against a very familiar foe in the Forest Park Panthers. Forest Park entered the AAAAA tournament as the #2 seed from Region 3-AAAAA, having lost their only two region games to the War Eagles. The game started off slow for Woodward Academy as the War Eagles trailed 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. After some early scoring struggles, Woodward decreased the deficit at halftime to 23-21. The halftime break helped settle the War Eagles and Woodward came out ready to play in the 3rd quarter. Woodward Academy outscored Forest Park in the 3rd quarter, 22-14, to take a 43-37 lead to start the final quarter. Woodward held a 60-54 lead with 1:13 remaining in the game but Forest Park refused to give up. A key 3-pointer with 10 seconds left made it a one-point game at 60-59. Two key free throws by Sydney Bowles followed by a steal on the ensuing Forest Park possession ultimately clinched the victory for Woodward! Junior Sydney Bowles led the team with 22 points while senior Kia Lanier poured in 14 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Junior Sara Lewis added 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
This marks the first State Championship for girls basketball since the 1998-99 season, when head coach Kim Lawrence was a member of the squad.