By Brad Fauber
FRONT ROYAL -- Skyline had six players in double-figure scoring against visiting James Wood on Tuesday night, but the output still wasn't enough to keep pace with the Colonels' high-powered offense as the Hawks fell, 89-82, in Northwestern District boys basketball action.
Skyline held a four-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but James Wood 10-0 run over the game's final minute to pull ahead for good and pick up their first district win of the season.
"I think we counted on outscoring them tonight," Hawks coach Jacob Bates said. "We stopped playing defense the way we had planned on playing defense. They got some confidence going and once they knocked down a few, they continued to do that."
James Wood, which runs a fast-paced offense that is heavily reliant on 3-point shooting, knocked down 16 treys in the contest, compared to just three by the Hawks. Still, Skyline (13-8, 1-6 Northwestern) held a lead as large as ten points late in the third period.
Bates said the Colonels' switch to a zone on defense in the fourth quarter played a factor in the game's final period, in which the Hawks were outscored 27-16. Skyline had taken advantage of easy looks underneath the basket in the first three periods, but James Wood minimized those opportunities over the final eight minutes.
"They stopped giving up easy shots in the zone," Bates said. "We didn't react very well to the zone. I don't know why, it's something that we've seen and it shouldn't have been an issue. We didn't face up, we didn't got the shots initially that we wanted against the zone."
The game started at a frenetic pace as Skyline senior Dayvon Haight (12 points) opened the scoring with a pull-up jumper from the top of the key13 seconds into the game, but James Wood (8-12, 1-6) responded with an 11-0 run over a 54 second span to take an 11-2 lead.
Skyline played from behind for most of the period before ending the frame on an 8-0 run to take a 22-20 lead after eight minutes of play.
The teams continued to battle closely in the second period as Skyline held just a 31-29 lead after James Wood's Peyton Crickman (18 points) scored on a putback with 3:40 to play in the half. But the Hawks were able to once again pull away with a 10-3 run to take a 43-37 lead into halftime.
Both teams came out hot in the third quarter as the Hawks and the Colonels traded baskets on the first nine possessions of the frame before Skyline was able to push the lead to nine points midway through the period.
Skyline senior Aaron Jeremiah (team-high 19 points) matched his first-half output with nine points in the first three minutes of the third period, and the Hawks held a 64-54 lead with 2:30 remaining in the quarter when senior Kylmen Breeden (14 points) scored on a putback.
James Wood's Ryland Williams, who lead all scorers with 20 points, knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the Hawks' lead to 66-62 heading into the fourth quarter. That's when James Wood coach Al Smith decided to make a chance defensively.
"The big thing was some of our shot selection was allowing them to get run-outs on us and get 2-on-1, 3-on-1 situations and we weren't covering the back side out of that and they were getting easy layups," Smith said. "We decided to that in order to take that back side away, and to me, that was the difference."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com