By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- Sherando has had to face adversity all year, so when the Warriors had two starters foul out midway through the third quarter, the team wasn't fazed. Sherando put together a run and pulled away with a 64-49 Northwestern District girls basketball victory over Millbrook on Monday night at Handley. It was a one-game playoff, after the two teams tied for the regular season title.
The win locks up a Region II, Division 4 berth for the Warriors, who will be the No. 2 seed in next week's tournament.
"This was big," Sherando freshman Lauren Reed said. "Sherando hasn't won anything since 1997 and we wanted to put more banners up for our school."
Sherando earns the No. 1 seed in this week's district tournament and will play Skyline today at Handley at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.
Sherando starters Erin Magalis and Jessica Hakel each fouled out with 4:14 and 3:14, respectively, left in the third quarter. Sherando center Hedi Brown also had four fouls as the Warriors' nine-point halftime lead had evaporated.
Millbrook had tied the game at 28-28 on two Brooke Borlie free throws with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
The Warriors responded with a 9-0 run, including five points from Reed.
Two free throws by Casey Ackerman and a basket by Ashley Goodman cut the lead to five entering the final quarter.
The Warriors (12-10) came out strong to start the fourth quarter and put the game away with a 7-0 burst.
"We knew we just needed to attack and play strong," Reed said.
Reed and Madison Leckie each hit a driving layup and Dani Rizzari hit a 3-pointer to give Sherando a 12-point lead with 6:32 left in the game.
The Pioneers (18-3) were unable to get the lead under double digits the rest of the way.
Reed iced the game with her free throw shooting, going 10 for 12 from the line in the final quarter.
"Free-throw shooting is a strength of our team," Reed said. "We do three sets of 10 every day."
Things started off slowly for both teams as neither team had a shot fall in the first two minutes of the game. Magalis and Brown each scored baskets to put the Warriors up 4-0 with 3:50 left in the first quarter. Reed added a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 7-0.
A 3-pointer by Rizzari and a basket by Reed helped give Sherando a 12-1 lead with 1:18 left in the first quarter.
Sherando maintained at least an eight-point lead throughout the second quarter, despite foul trouble. Brown, Magalis and Hakel each had three fouls before the end of the first half.
Millbrook had only four field goals in the first half, and Sherando coach Kevin Reed said he was very pleased with his team's defense.
"Offense comes and goes, but your defense should never leave you," he said.
Brenna Cook led the Pioneers with 17 points, while Borlie added 12.
Reed had 26 points and four assists to lead Sherando. Rizzari and Brown each had 12 for the Warriors.
"Everybody stepped up tonight," Kevin Reed said. "Late in the fourth quarter I was thinking, 'This was a total team effort.'"
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com