By Greg Brill
FRONT ROYAL -- Skyline's Sonny Dyke is one amazed basketball coach.
He's amazed at how focused his Hawks can be, even without practicing for a few days due to dismal weather. He's amazed at how business-like his team can be at the start of each half, sharing the ball and building big leads through teamwork.
The Hawks were human enough, though. They had a lapse at the end of the first half Tuesday night against Fauquier, allowing their guests to score 10 of the last 12 points. In the fourth quarter, Skyline turned the ball over on five straight possessions, but got by because it never let the lead get under double-digits.
In a game they led by as much as 24 points, a few bad stretches couldn't keep the Hawks down long.
Their will to share was much greater, and the Hawks won their fourth straight, defeating Fauquier 70-49 to move to 6-1 on the season.
"This team is as unselfish as it gets," Dyke said. "They share the ball and they find the open man."
Ryan Dyke was again the big gun, dropping in a game-high 26 points. The junior forward made 10-of-13 shots from the field (including all three from behind the arc), all of his three free throws, and finished with another double-double with his 12 rebounds.
"I'm just trying to let the game come to me," said Ryan Dyke, who is scoring at a 19-point clip. "I'm not doing anything differently than I would if I was just out there by myself. I'm not trying to force anything. If you take good shots, you have a chance to make them. I think that's what all of us try to do."
After Ryan Dyke, no rebounder on either side had more than four boards.
And even though he scored Skyline's first basket on a nifty drive 25 seconds into the game, and had 10 points by quarter's end, Ryan Dyke was quick to deflect much of the early credit to his teammates.
"We had a size advantage inside and we noticed that in warm-ups," Ryan Dyke said. "We talked about [using] that with not only me, but a lot of different guys. We went inside early and built off it."
It's easy to see where Ryan Dyke was coming from. After Fauquier (3-2) burst to a 5-2 lead, the Hawks swept in to clip the Falcons with 17 straight points.
A little too unsure of what to do out of their half-court sets, the Falcons had five first-period turnovers and the Hawks got the ball down court in transition to cash in.
Skyline led 19-7 at the end of the first period, and built that lead to 17 in the first two minutes of the second quarter, when reserve Colton Ratcliffe made an instant impact with a layup and open 3-pointer.
Of their first 24 points, 11 came off turnover possessions.
"I thought [Skyline] really prepared to play right off the bat," said Fauquier coach Wayne Brizzi, who tried to stop the flow early with two timeouts. "They got some good looks and they executed well at the beginning. They hit some shots."
A 3-pointer by Ryan Dyke at the 2:57 mark sent Skyline's lead to 19 before the Falcons answered with eight straight points. Point guard Darius Stanford (team-best 18 points) continued to attack the basket to get the Falcons within an eyelash of a single-digit deficit, and confidence for the guests began to rise.
Ryan Dyke got Skyline's first points in 2 1/2 minutes with a nice leaner with five seconds left, but Garrett Diehl, who began the game missing his first five shots, finally dented the scoreboard with a fadeaway to beat the buzzer and leave Skyline with a 33-22 lead.
In order to get their lead back to a comfortable margin, the Hawks had to put together another impressive run. And they did.
With the Falcons down only 10, Ryan Dyke got the Hawks off on a 15-1 run in the third period. First, he scored off a dump. Joey Neidigh then got his first points on a 3-pointer. Cameron Taylor (10 points) coasted in for a layup, and Ryan Dyke buried another 3-pointer off the left baseline.
By that stage, Ryan Dyke had 22 points. No matter where he was, inside or out, Ryan Dyke scored at will on the Falcons.
"We got him the ball in a lot of good spots, obviously," Sonny Dyke said. "I thought he did a good job getting positioning, but the kids [also] did a good job feeding him. It seemed like every basket [he scored] came off an assist."
Dayvon Haight added the Hawks' fourth 3-pointer of the period with four seconds left, and Skyline took a 21-point lead to the fourth.
"The focus has been really exceptional," Sonny Dyke said. "You can talk about it all you want, but the kids have just got to have it. That's just something we can draw on."
The Hawks did get a little sloppy in the final period. After playing turnover-free through the first 14 minutes, Skyline had eight turnovers alone in the fourth period.
"We had some lapses, but it's kind of hard [to keep the intensity] when you're up by a lot," Ryan Dyke said. "We'll need to work on that. This team hasn't played with a big lead all that much."
Fauquier began to get confidence from outside, with Caleb Lantz (14 points) knocking down a trio of 3-pointers. Even with an inability to handle some possessions well, the Hawks did not have to worry much. Fauquier scored just three times off Skyline's eight turnovers in the fourth.
"If we had showed that type of intensity in the beginning, maybe it would have made a
difference," Brizzi said. "But Skyline looked pretty good."