By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- It's been a rough season for Skyline's girls basketball team, but on Monday night everything fell into place for the Hawks.
Fifth-seeded Skyline raced out to an early lead and held on for a 50-36 win over fourth-seeded Handley in the Northwestern District play-in game at Handley.
The Hawks had lost twice to Handley in the regular season, but came out a different team on Monday night.
"I just think we really wanted it," Skyline's Quinn Breeden said. "We haven't played up to our potential all season. Tonight I think we just came out really focused and ready to play."
The Hawks (5-18) will play top-seeded Sherando tonight at 6 p.m. in the tournament semifinals.
The game started out slow for both teams, but Skyline used a 12-4 run to take a 16-8 lead after the first quarter. Skyline's Jenny Norman had six points during the run.
Both teams struggled to score in the second quarter as they combined for 10 points, with the Hawks holding on to a 20-14 halftime lead.
Handley (10-11) came out with a little energy to start the second half and cut the lead to two on a basket by Hannah Long with 5:45 left in the third.
After a timeout by Skyline coach Jim Kenney, the Hawks regained their composure and went on a 14-2 run.
Four different players scored during the spurt for the Hawks, including six points from Shayne Clifton.
The Hawks were able to keep the lead in double digits the rest of the way.
"This was the best game we've played from start to finish all season," Kenney said. "They played with passion. They played like they were having fun."
The Hawks played a triangle-and-two against Handley's Angelica Robinson and Alysandra Worrell and held them to a combined 13 points.
"We decided we were going to make somebody else have to beat us and it worked," Kenney said.
Long led the Judges with 10 points.
Breeden finished with 15 points for the Hawks. Clifton had 11 and Norman had 10 for Skyline.
The Hawks will have a tough challenge tonight when they play the Warriors, but they had a four-point halftime lead on Sherando the last time they met.
"If we play like we played tonight, and we play with the confidence we had tonight, anything can happen," Kenney said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org