By Eric Jones - firstname.lastname@example.org
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The messages were simple, but very different for Martinsburg coach Wes Hall and Sherando coach Kevin Reed.
First, there was Reed's message to his team at halftime, which was basically to keep doing what the Warriors had been doing and their shots would eventually fall.
That happened in the second half for Sherando.
Then, there was Hall's message to his team during a key stretch in the second half in which the Bulldogs saw a sizable lead dwindle down. That message was for Martinsburg to get back to what it had been doing all game, which included rebounding the ball on the defensive end and running its offense on the other end.
Martinsburg got back to form in time to hold off a late Warriors rally and produce a 46-35 win.
The Bulldogs were in complete control in the first half, leading by 13 at halftime, 25-12, after holding Sherando to just seven points in the first quarter and five points in the second quarter.
"We couldn't have played a much better first half. It's one of the best first-half performances we've had," Hall said.
Martinsburg started the second half off right with an easy layup by Essence Underwood to give the Bulldogs a 27-12 lead.
However, taking what Reed said at halftime, the Warriors began to slowly cut into the lead.
"We had opportunities to score in the first half, we just couldn't convert. I told them at halftime to chip away at the lead, and the shots started to fall for us," Reed said.
Lauren Reed helped the Warriors cut the lead to 29-21 with nine straight points for Sherando, including a long 3-pointer from straight on.
"Lauren got things rolling," Reed said.
The Warriors cut the lead to five points on three separate occasions. After the Bulldogs pushed the lead to 34-23, Sherando scored six straight points to cut the lead to 34-29, getting a basket a piece from Madison Leckie, Heidi Brown and Jessica Hakel.
Later in the half, Hakel cut the deficit to 36-31 with a rebound and putback and to 38-33 with another easy basket inside as she found a hole in the Bulldog defense.
After that basket, the Bulldogs finished the game on an 8-2 run.
Despite the loss, Reed was pleased with the way his team fought back.
"I'm never happy to lose, but we faced some adversity, and to come back against a good team like Martinsburg, that's definitely going to help us down the road," he said.