Bulldogs’ second-half surge sinks Sherando

By Ryan Decker – The Journal (Martinsburg, W.Va.)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — It took both teams most of the first half to settle in Thursday night as Martinsburg hosted Sherando.

The two teams were plagued by turnovers and missed opportunities, which made for a shaky start.

Martinsburg (2-0) used a big second half to its advantage, getting out to a double-digit lead with the help of three Taylor Ferguson 3-pointers as the Bulldogs won 57-35 over the Warriors.

“Second half, we picked up the intensity and we picked it up on defense,” Martinsburg coach Wes Hall said. “We calmed down, we got better spacing and ran the offense (in the second half).

“The whole team offensively played with intensity. We got better.”

The first half was played at a very high speed, however. Sometimes the pace was too much for the two teams this early in the season. Sherando (1-2) ended the half with 12 turnovers, and the Bulldogs committed 10.

Sherando put the first points on the board, but that was followed up with a 7-0 Martinsburg run. With the Warriors within one, the Bulldogs went on another streak taking the score to 11-6.

Kristen Nunn made a 3-pointer with a hand in her face as time expired in the opening quarter, giving Martinsburg a 16-10 lead.

The Warriors began the second quarter with a 6-0 run, tying the game at 16-all when Erin Magalis made a fast-break layup, which led to Hall calling a timeout to regroup his team. To that point, Martinsburg had missed its first five shots of the quarter, two right below the basket.

Hall’s timeout paid off as the Bulldogs outscored Sherando 6-1 the remainder of the period to take a 23-17 lead into the break.

Alexus Bonner led Martinsburg with eight points, and Nunn added seven in the opening half.

“Offensively, our spacing was off,” Hall said. “We tried to force tempo and forced too many passes.”

Both teams came out of the break and started the third period with more controlled offenses, setting it up and getting better looks at the hoop.

Ferguson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Martinsburg a 10-point lead. Another trey by Ferguson extended the lead to 36-23 with four minutes remaining in the period.

“Taylor Ferguson was a huge spark with three 3s,” Hall said.

Leia Catlett added a late putback as the Bulldogs carried the 13-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Catlett came alive in the final quarter. She scored eight points in the period, six coming on second-chance shot attempts following an offensive rebound.

A Catlett putback and a contested bucket by Essence Underwood gave Martinsburg a 20-point lead as part of a 7-0 run to start the fourth.

Another second-chance basket by Catlett gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the night at 57-34.