Warriors use defense to beat Falcons

By Brad Fauber

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando’s girls basketball team placed a priority on playing strong defense well before the season started, and the Warriors put all of that hard work to use on Tuesday night against Briar Woods.

The Warriors forced 37 turnovers — including 15 steals — and limited an overmatched Briar Woods squad to just 13 second-half points in an 80-40 rout of the Falcons.

Twelve different Warriors scored in the win, and four players finished in double-digits for Sherando (2-3).

“We have been working almost entirely on defense the whole year. Even through the summer we really focused on developing our defensive game, knowing that we were going to have to have a base. And our base is going to be defense,” Warriors coach Mike Marsh said.

“It was a good team win. The girls did a good job. They’re starting to see what we’re trying to do. [They’re] very supportive of one another. We were trying to make sure everybody got in the scorebook, and they worked hard.”

The game was filled with plenty of stoppages, as fouls — 48 of them, to be exact — and a combined 61 turnovers led to plenty of dead ball situations. But the choppy flow didn’t prevent the Warriors from registering their best offensive output so far this season behind a 30-for-74 (40.5 percent) shooting effort from the field.

Sherando’s defense, which relied on full-court pressure for most of the game, carved the way for much of that success, and the Warriors used 13 first-period turnovers to get easy buckets and build an early 24-8 lead after the first eight minutes.

Warriors freshman Davina Lane and junior Jessica Hakel did most of the damage for Sherando in the opening frame, as they tallied 10 and eight points, respectively. Hakel also had two steals in the period.

“It was a great team effort. Everyone came out strong and hard, and we just all put our hearts out on the floor,” said Hakel, who led all scorers with 18 points. “The defense helped out a lot. We got a lot of quick steals, and we ran the floor and got the ball up quick. And our point guard [Erin Magalis] did a really good job looking for us down the floor.”

Briar Woods (0-5) was able to hang around in the second period behind some improved ball security and an 8-for-11 mark from the field. Freshman Amani Rascoe (nine points) gave the Falcons a boost by scoring Briar Woods’ first eight points in the frame before getting into foul trouble midway through the second period.

The Falcons outscored Sherando 19-17 in the second period to send the Warriors into halftime with a 41-27 lead, but Briar Woods scored just 13 points in the second half.

“We talked about that at halftime, the fact that they had a big second quarter and we weren’t real pleased with that, and that we need to go out, be real aggressive and set the tone,” Marsh said.

Sherando ramped up the defense again in the third quarter, as the Warriors forced 13 more turnovers and steadily increased its lead to 60-32 by the end of the period.

Junior forward Heidi Brown scored eight of her 15 points in the final period to help Sherando continue building its lead in the fourth quarter.

Lane also finished with 15 points for Sherando, and junior Audra Sites had 13 for the Warriors.

Alexis Ali led Briar Woods with 10 points.

Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD