Tenacity on the boards, quick start helps lead team to victory
By Robert Edmonds - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Skyline never trailed Tuesday night when they hosted Central in boys' basketball action. A quick start against the sluggish Falcons was the catalyst in a 55-29 non-district victory for the Hawks.
"I am extremely pleased with our guys' efforts tonight," Hawks coach Jacob Bates said. "We have a good, talented group of young men who work their butts off and represent exactly what we want Skyline to be known for in many different ways."
An all-around effort on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor for Skyline proved to be a difficult test for the Falcons. Finding difficulty running their offense when the game got underway, Central rushed its sets and settled for ill-advised shots that rarely found the basket.
Skyline's tenacity on the boards limited the Falcons' second-chance opportunities and helped the home team establish a 14-4 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Hawks didn't slow their pace when the second quarter got underway, continuing to build their lead with opportunistic scoring derived from the defense's ability to create turnovers resulting in Skyline building a 20-point lead before intermission.
"I don't care what type of team you're playing, if you turn the ball over like we did tonight, it's going to lead to easy baskets," Falcons coach Mickey Clinedinst said. "We didn't value the ball and it showed."
Six different players contributed points for Skyline the first half, with Kylmen Breeden leading the way with eight, including back-to-back three-point plays. After Breeden grabbed a steal midway through the second quarter, he drove the length of the floor to score while being fouled and then sank his free throw shot for the conventional three-point play.
On the Hawks' next offensive possession, Breeden drained a shot from beyond the arc for a 3-pointer. Casey Stewart and Nick Helmick also contributed six points in the first half.
Breeden and Stewart continued to contribute in the opening of the second half, adding five points each in the third quarter with both knocking down three point shots as Skyline extended its lead to 26 by the end of the third.
"I think Casey [Stewart] had a great game tonight and did an excellent job picking it up after his last game," Bates said. "He puts a lot of pressure on himself and really wasn't happy about his performance the other night. He stepped up and showed what he is capable of doing."
Central managed to have its best outing in the final period when the Falcons were able to limit turnovers and successfully run their offense while limiting Skyline's ability to score. Travis Cooper led the Falcons in scoring with 12 points in the loss.
"In all fairness, we haven't had a lot of time as a team because of the success that our football program had this year," Clinedinst said. "We've only had about five days with those guys, and football shape and basketball shape are two completely different things. We have a group that has the potential to be very good, but right now we are learning while playing games. We are going to keep working at it and learn from our mistakes."