By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- In a game of runs, Fauquier had the last big surge against Skyline on Tuesday night.
The Falcons rallied in the fourth quarter for a 52-50 boys basketball victory over the Hawks in non-district action.
"We played pretty bad basketball," Skyline coach Jacob Bates said. "We lost the game tonight. I'm not sure if at any time we had five guys on the court playing 100 percent and that's a representation of myself as a coach."
The Hawks lacked intensity throughout the game, but especially at the start as Fauquier built a 26-9 lead in the first half.
Fauquier's Jeremiah Blackwell and Jay Jay Roberts combined for 18 points during the run, including a combined four 3-pointers.
"They shot the ball well," Fauquier coach Wayne Brizzi said of Blackwell and Roberts. "They've had their days both ways. They're good shooters. I thought they shot exceptional tonight."
Trailing by 17 with 4:54 left in the first half, the Hawks finally began to put some things together. They scored 20 consecutive points during a span of 7:18, which bridged the second and third quarters.
Skyline scored 16 of those points during the second quarter, including six from Kylmen Breeden.
Bates said everything started on the defensive end for the Hawks during their run.
"Defensively, we decided to play a little bit to get ourselves back in the game," Bates said.
The Hawks (12-5, 1-3 Northwestern) took their first lead since early in the game on a basket by Nick Helmick with 7:07 left in the third quarter. A layup by Dayvon Haight stretched the lead to 29-26.
The Falcons (9-9) were able to retake the lead on a 3-pointer by Caleb Lantz and a basket by Travis Crosen, but the Hawks reeled off nine straight points.
Helmick scored twice inside the paint to help give the Hawks a 38-31 lead with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
Fauquier had one last run in them. The Falcons responded with a 17-4 spurt, which stretched into the final minutes of the game.
Blackwell and Roberts, who had been slowed down by the Hawks, suddenly came to life again.
Blackwell hit three 3-pointers and Roberts drained one to help give the Falcons a 48-42 lead with 2:16 left in the game.
"Fauquier does a pretty good job of shooting the ball when you leave them open," Bates said. "And unfortunately we left them open far too many times. We like to think it's a simple game, but when you don't play obviously it's more complicated than it what it really has to be."
Skyline's Aaron Jeremiah cut the lead to 48-44 with 1:41 left, but two free throws by Lantz stretched the lead back to six. Breeden hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 50-47 with eight seconds left, but two free throws Dillon Tapscott sealed the game.
"Having them down early made a big difference for us," Brizzi said. "They used a lot of energy trying to come back. They did a heck of a job coming back. At the end it could have went either way. We feel really fortunate to get the victory."
Blackwell had 19 points and Roberts added 13 for the Falcons.
Brizzi said his team has been up and down this season, but he feels good about where they're headed. Fauquier plays first-place Liberty this Friday and a win could tie them for first place.
"I'm very happy with the way the kids are working and progressing," Brizzi said. "We lost the last time to Liberty by 30. They come back in practice the next day and they're just working hard. I thought we've gotten a lot better since then. So, I'm excited to see what will happen."
Breeden led the Hawks with 14 points, while Jeremiah added 13 and Helmick had 10. The Hawks play Warren County on Thursday, and Bates said his team just needs to move on from the Fauquier loss.
"I'm sure they'll be up for that game," Bates said of playing Warren County. "What's happened, has happened, you can't change it."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org