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Rough second half costs Wildcats in loss

By Robert Edmonds - sports@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- It was the tale of two halves Friday night when Warren County hosted Brentsville in Evergreen District girls' basketball action.

The Wildcats entered the night on a four-game winning streak and was looking to make a sweep of the district in their first go-round after three straight wins against district opponents.

Brentsville, on the other hand, was looking to snap a two-game losing streak. When the game got under way, both teams play reflected their streaks with Warren taking an early lead. The Wildcats built a double-digit lead before halftime, but the Tigers stormed back in the second half to erase the deficit and go on to a 36-29 victory.

"The second half we just got somewhat lazy on defense," Wildcats coach John Kelly said. "They hit those two quick [3-pointers] and they seemed like that couldn't believe what was happening, but ultimately this game was lost at the free-throw line. Give Brentsville credit, they played hard and earned the win tonight."

The Wildcats wasted little time finding the basket when Autumn Troxell delivered a quick pass to Callie Green for a layup five seconds into the game. The Wildcats scored again on their next possession when Alesha Adams knocked down a 3-pointer. Adams scored eight points in the quarter and help the Wildcats take control of the game early.

Warren County opened the second period on a 9-0 run behind Vanessa Calevro, who scored six during the stretch while Troxell added three.

With a 20-8 lead, it appeared the Wildcats were in the driver's seat, but Brentsville wasn't ready to throw in the towel. With 1:30 remaining in the half, Haleigh Kilby connected on a jumper to score the Tigers' first points of the second period. Shortly after, Kilby delivered with a 3-pointer and Brentsville felt the momentum start to swing.

"The three in the corner by Kilby was huge," Tigers coach Tim Brown said. "Those last five points of the second period are when we really felt momentum start to shift. I told the girls at halftime that the lid is finally off the basket."

Behind Kilby, the Tigers reeled off a 22-2 stretch through the end of the third quarter and in then found themselves ahead by eight heading into the final period of play. Kilby led the team with 13 of her game-high 21 points in the quarter, including three 3-pointers.

"Once she [Kilby] started hitting a couple shots, she just caught fire," Brown said. "She has hit nine 3-point shots in the last two games and has really carried us offensively. Her and Ashley Winslow played the whole game tonight, and that is in large part [due] to their conditioning. Now is when we start to see that pay off."

The Wildcats appeared a bit shell-shocked after the huge turnaround and struggled to get things going as they hoped to get back in the game. Despite several opportunities at the foul line, Warren only managed to pull within five points before time ran as they took their first district loss of the season.

"We are 4-1 in our last five and 3-1 in the district," Kelly said. "That's due to the fact that we have been playing good basketball. It's nice to get through this first trip in the district with that, but every team is going to be coming at us like we are playing a championship game every night. We have to be ready to go."


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