By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER - Handley didn't play with a lot of defensive intensity for much of its game against Skyline on Tuesday night. However, the Judges picked it up when they needed it in the second half on their way to a 54-46 victory over the Hawks in Northwestern District action.
"I think we're all kind of disappointed because we expect a lot out of each other," Handley junior guard Erin Drumheller said. "We just didn't bring it tonight."
The Judges led throughout much of the game, but the game was very tight throughout the first three quarters. Handley used a 6-3 run in the final two minutes of the third quarter to take a 37-31 lead into the final eight minutes.
Foul trouble hurt Skyline to start the fourth quarter. Skyline sophomore guard Taylor Henry fouled out with 7:38 left in the game. A mere 10 seconds later, Skyline junior center Kelsey Corcoran, who dominated inside the paint in the first half, picked up her fourth foul and had to come out of the game.
With Corcoran out of the game, the Judges went on a 12-5 spurt to build a 49-38 lead with 3:48 left. Handley sophomore guard Corin Scott nailed a jumper and then a 3-pointer to help give the Judges an added cushion.
"Corin hit two big shots to help us pull away," Drumheller said. "Even with Kelsey [Corcoran] out of the game we could have taken advantage of it more by going inside more."
Corcoran finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds, but she had only three points in the second half. Handley coach Marvin Scott said Jasmine Curtis did a good job of defending the 6-foot-2 Corcoran in the second half.
Once Corcoran returned to the game in the fourth quarter, most of the damage had been done. The Judges, who struggled at the free-throw line most of the night, made enough down the stretch to seal the win.
"There was a two-minute stretch where we went cold and couldn't score and that was in part because of their defensive pressure," Skyline coach Jim Kenney said. "As a coaching staff we have to do a better job of preparing the kids for defensive pressure."
Shannon Hoverter added 11 points for the Hawks (2-4, 0-1 Northwestern). Despite the loss, Kenney was proud of his team in their district opener.
"Overall, I'm not happy with the outcome, but I was happy with the performance of the kids," Kenney said. "This is a tough place to come in and play. It's a tough game to have as your district opener."
Drumheller led the Judges (3-2, 1-0) with 17 points, while Corin Scott added 13. It was the first of four games for Handley this week and Drumheller said it could be a good opportunity for the team to bounce back from a lackluster performance.
"We have a long week. Hopefully we can come out and make better decisions," Drumheller said. "I'm happy with the win. We still have a long season to go and hopefully we can improve and play better in the future."