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Corcoran lifts Hawks to victory

Skyline's Casey Henry gets full court pressure
Skyline's Casey Henry, right, gets full court pressure from Central's Taylor Pumphrey during second-half action Saturday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Central's Ashley Jernigan
Central's Ashley Jernigan Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Central's Ashley Jernigan looks to pass
Central's Ashley Jernigan looks to pass inside around Skyline's Kelsey Corcoran during first half action Saturday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Tommy Keeler Jr. - tkeeler@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Kelsey Corcoran finally got the looks she was wanting and she made the most of them.

The Skyline 6-foot-3 junior center scored eight points in the third quarter to help the Hawks to a 42-32 girls basketball victory over Central on Saturday night.

Corcoran, who had only two points in the first half, said the Falcons began playing behind her more instead of fronting her, which enabled easy looks at the basket.

"The way they played defense played to my strengths," Corcoran said. "Kristina [Salazar] made some great passes. All the credit goes to [Salazar] for her passes."

The win avenged a defeat to the Falcons earlier this year, but Corcoran said she was more motivated by the loss at Central last year.

"We lost in this gym last year and we wanted to show them that this gym is nothing special," Corcoran said. "It feels good to finally beat them here."

The game was tied at 17 at the half and the Falcons took a 19-17 lead on a basket by Heather Clem to start the third quarter. Skyline's Taylor Henry, who had a game-high 17 points, hit a jumper to tie the game with 6:48 left in the third period.

Corcoran, who finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks, then scored six straight for the Hawks to help them build a 25-21 lead.

"[Corcoran] just went out there in the second half and started asserting herself," Skylne coach Jim Kenney said. "She did a good job posting up and getting some easy baskets."

Another basket by Clem and a free throw by Allison Bright helped the Falcons cut the lead to 27-26 with 57 seconds left in the third quarter, but the Hawks (5-6, 1-3 Northwestern) closed the period with a 6-2 run.

Henry finished it off with a driving layup with three seconds left in the third quarter for a 33-28 lead. The sophomore started the season off slowly, but has been coming on strong over the last few weeks.

"Coach [Kenney] told me he wanted me to shoot the ball more," Henry said. "So, that's what I've been trying to do."

Skyline senior Shannon Hoverter hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and the Hawks were able to put the game away at the foul line.

Central's Ashley Jernigan made a driving layup with 2:58 left to cut the lead to 36-32, but a layup by Henry and four free throws sealed the win.

"The way we ran our offense in the last two minutes was the best we ran it the entire game," Kenney said. "We've had trouble in the final minutes of games this season. I was happy with how we finished the game."

The Falcons (5-6, 1-1 Shenandoah) were led by Jernigan with nine points.

Central was coming off a disappointing Shenandoah District loss to Buffalo Gap on Friday night and Falcons coach Stephanie Mathews was pleased with how her team responded.

"I thought it was a good turnaround for us after last night's effort," Mathews said. "I saw some good things from the girls. Skyline's a good team."

The Hawks have struggled in the Northwestern District so far this season, but the players are hopeful this momentum will carry over into district play.

"We can use this for when we play against Handley and all the other teams in the district," Corcoran said. "We can learn from this game and take into all the other games that we play."


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