By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STEPHENS CITY -- With two towering players inside, Sherando will see a lot of zone defense this season. The Warriors had a crash course in how to handle it on Friday night against Skyline.
The Warriors struggled against the zone in the first half, but passed with flying colors in the second half as they pulled away for a 67-33 Northwestern District boys basketball win over the Hawks.
"Our guys better get used to [zone defenses], because we have two big guys and we'll go against teams that don't feel they can defend against us with the bigs," Sherando coach Garland Williams said. "They're gonna go zone and we gotta be able to move the ball, and if jump shots are not going down on the outside we gotta be able to get some penetration and get some shorter shots. The first half we didn't do that, but the second half I thought we did a better job."
Sherando has a lot of inside with the combination of 6-foot-7 Grant Golden and 6-foot-8 Jeremiah Curtis. The Hawks used an extended 2-3 zone to cause problems in the first half.
In the third period, Golden started to move around along the baseline and got plenty of easy baskets. Golden scored 18 of his career-high 33 points in the third period.
"Me and Jeremiah, we move pretty good inside," Golden said. "And coach just told me to just keep running baseline, and if I kept making shots on the baseline the middle would open up for Jeremiah [Curtis]. Everything worked out good."
The Warriors (3-3, 2-0 Northwestern) led 27-17 at the half, but outscored the Hawks 25-10 in the third period.
Golden was 8-for-10 from the floor in the period, including a 3-pointer.
"It's always fun to have a quarter like that," Golden said. "I'm just glad that the team got a good lead, we could get all our guys in. It was good."
The Hawks (2-9, 0-1 Northwestern) were coming off a win over Brentsville on Thursday and took that momentum into their contest with the Warriors.
Skyline did a good job on the boards and frustrated the Warriors throughout the first period. The Hawks took their only lead of the game, 12-11, on a basket by Josh Smeltzer with 1:37 left in the first period.
"I was real impressed with the way we came out. We came out and we let them know we were there," Skyline coach Jacob Bates said.
Bates said he was really pleased with the way his team rebounded.
"The fact that we were going against two 6-8's and we didn't get owned on the glass is a testament to the effort that goes into it," Bates said. "You can talk about it, but it takes a lot of effort to go out and do it."
Sherando's Jordan Henry drilled a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first period to give the Warriors the lead for good. Golden had seven points in the second period to help the Warriors push the lead to 10 at the break.
Skyline was led by Jared Parker with 12 points. Bates said there were a lot of positives to take away from the loss.
"To come out and play what I think are our two best games of effort in back-to-back nights -- that's something to be proud of," Bates said. "We were more aggressive tonight. We attacked the basket with more physical demeanor than we had, and that's something to take away and something to grow on. Until you do that, you don't necessarily improve on it. So, hopefully this will be a step in the right direction."
Golden had eight rebounds to go with his points. Isaiah Williams added 12 points for the Warriors.
Sherando plays at West Virginia powerhouse Washington today, and the team is hoping the second-half momentum will carry over.
"They're a good team. We're just get a good night's rest. We're going to go out there and try to compete [today]," Golden said. "I just want to see how we can do, and as long as we can go out there and play hard and compete that's all we can ask for."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd