First-half woes costly for Hornets

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

WINCHESTER — Shenandoah women’s basketball coach C.K. Calhoun knew when she made up her schedule that her team might have some tough games, and on Tuesday night one of those clearly arrived.

The Hornets had a lot of trouble scoring in the first half and fell to Mary Washington, 70-28, in non-conference action at Shingleton Gymnasium.

“We want to play the best,” Calhoun said. “We want to get better even if it’s going to take nights like this.”

The Hornets struggled mightily in the first half. They missed their first 16 shots and had 13 turnovers before scoring their first basket with 5:17 left in the opening half.

Mary Washington’s Sam Partonen hit a 3-pointer just 16 seconds into the game and the Eagles didn’t look back.

Shenandoah’s Imani Heggins hit one of two free throws with 18:19 left in the first half to cut the lead to 3-1. The Hornets wouldn’t score again over 13 minutes of play.

“I just think our shots weren’t falling,” Heggins said. “We had good shots. We had open shots, they just weren’t falling.”

The Eagles (3-1) stretched the lead to 21-1, including a driving layup by Sherando graduate Erin Drumheller with 5:30 left in the half.

Heggins finally broke the drought for the Hornets with a basket with 5:17 left in the first half.

“It was [a relief],” Heggins said of making that first basket. “I was waiting for it the whole game and once they started falling, I started to relax a little bit and realize we can score.”

However, things didn’t improve the rest of the first half as the Hornets failed to score the rest of the way and trailed 31-3 at the half.

The Hornets (1-4) were 1 for 21 in the first half with 20 turnovers. Mary Washington shot 42.9 percent in the opening half (12 for 28).

Things improved in the second half as the Hornets scored their first basket of the half with 15:39 left in the game. They went on a 5-2 run to cut the lead to 41-10 with 14:15 left in the game.

Shenandoah’s play in the second half gave them something positive to build on.

“We wanted to make sure the second half was better and was more Shenandoah basketball,” Calhoun said. “In the first 20 [minutes] we might not have been all there, but I think we’re excited of what happened in the second half.”

The Eagles were led by Brianne Comden with 18 points, and Sam Partonen with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Drumheller finished with two points and three assists in her homecoming.

“Tonight was a really good win,” Drumheller said. “We’ve had a week since our last game, so we’ve been working really hard on developing an offensive flow and working together. I thought today we really showed that on the floor.”

The Hornets were led by Heggins with 14 points and eight rebounds. Holly Chittenden had seven points and nine rebounds.

Despite the loss, the Hornets were upbeat about the rest of the season.

“It’s going to be a really long season and these are the games that are going to prepare us for the ODAC,” Heggins said. “These tougher teams that’s outside of our conference, they’re just going to prepare us so that when we get to the ODAC teams it will be easier to play them.”

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd