Playing against the Woodward Academy girls is like competing against a team that has six or seven on the floor instead of the allotted five. The War Eagles played 32 minutes of in-your-face, get-after-it defense and eventually wear down the opposition.

It’s a testament to Southwest DeKalb that it was able to hang in there and withstand much of the onslaught. But in the end the No. 1-ranked War Eagles prevailed 70-57 and advanced to the Class 5A Final Four.

Woodward Academy (20-1) was led by impressive junior Sydney Bowles with 34 points, nine rebounds and three steals and Sara Lewis with 21 points. The War Eagles have won 19 straight games.

No. 5 Southwest DeKalb (21-7) got 18 from Pryia Thompson, 13 from Adrieanna Brownlee and 12 from Taylor Christmas. The Panthers had their six-game winning streak broken.

“I think we played pretty well,” Woodward Academy coach Kim Lawrence said. “We had a few letdowns where we let our emotions kind of get in the way … things didn’t go our way, we weren’t getting the calls. We let those almost get out of our game. I’m proud of the way they fought back and kept their heads about them and kept fighting.”

Woodward led 27-26 at halftime and was able to surge a 46-36 lead midway in the third period on a basket by Bowles. But Southwest rode Thompson, who attacked the basket, pulled to within 47-46 after three quarters and took a 50-49 lead on Lauryn Bell’s bucket.

But that’s when Woodward went on an 11-1 run to push the lead to nine points, only to have Southwest DeKalb respond with six unanswered points to get to within 60-57.

That’s when Bowles made the play of the game. The junior lofted in a 3-pointer and was fouled, with the ensuing free throw putting Woodward ahead 65-57 with two minutes left. Southwest DeKalb was left to foul and Woodward made six free throws and denied the Panthers any more points.

“I tell the girls all the time that basketball is a game of runs,” Lawrence said. “Southwest DeKalb didn’t stop fighting, they fought back. That’s what’s going to happen. You just have to withstand their run and our run outlasted their run.”

Woodward Academy will host the semifinal game against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Loganville and Griffin.