By Brad Fauber
FRONT ROYAL -- It's never a good sign when a team repeatedly makes the same mistakes throughout the entire length of a season, and that is exactly where Skyline's girls basketball squad finds itself as the end of the regular season approaches.
The Hawks have struggled all season to find any consistency on offense, and turnovers have plagued Skyline from the get-go. That theme continued on Tuesday night when the Hawks fell at home to Northwestern District foe James Wood 58-32.
"It's the same mistakes over and over and over again," Hawks coach Jim Kenney said. "Normally through a season you see progress and by the end of the season you can see some improvement, and I haven't with this group. Ultimately, that's on me. We just need to figure some things out."
Skyline (4-17, 0-7 Northwestern) shot just 30.6 percent (11 for 36) from the field against James Wood's defense and turned the ball over 29 times.
James Wood (11-9, 3-4) opened the game on a 10-0 run, with the first eight points of the night coming from sophomore Kaitlyn Crane. Crane's ability to jumpstart the offense early was a key to the Colonels success on Monday.
"She comes out and she's all energy," Colonels coach Rhonda Slider said. "She's fast, she's quick, she can get steals. She's just done a fabulous job for us coming through the things that have happened and we can't be more proud of her. She's good for us because the girls get excited when she does those good things."
Skyline finally tallied its first basket of the game when junior Quinn Breeden hit a runner in the lane to make the score 10-2 with 3:02 left in the first quarter. The Hawks did end the frame on a 6-2 run to trail by just six at the end of the first despite turning the ball over 10 times.
Skyline's junior Shayne Clifton continued the Hawks run with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three in the second period, but the Colonels got hot from the field and used a 12-0 run over the next five minutes to take a commanding 24-9 lead. James Wood took a 27-12 advantage into halftime.
The Colonels continued to pull away with their best offensive performance of the night in the third period, taking a 44-21 lead into the final quarter.
Colonels junior Brooke Nesselrodt led all scorers with 16 points to go along with Crane's 14.
Clifton led the Hawks with 13 points and junior Jenny Norman added nine points.
Skyline ends the regular season on Friday against Millbrook and will face either James Wood or Handley in the district tournament next week.
"It's a cliché, but we've just got to go one game at a time and just do the best we can against Millbrook on Friday and play for your life on Monday," Kenney said. "It's that time of year -- play or go home."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com