By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- Sherando found itself in yet another close game Friday night against rival Handley. As has been the case most of the season, the Warriors couldn't make enough plays down the stretch.
Handley used a big run to start the second half to take a lead, and held on for a 53-48 win over the Warriors in Northwestern District boys basketball action.
"We did some things that were very uncharacteristic," Sherando coach Garland Williams said of the second half. "They had some pressure, but we had some passes where the guys was just right there breathing down our necks and we just threw it right to him."
Sherando led 24-22 at the half, and had only three turnovers in the first half. That changed quickly in the second half. Handley used a 10-3 run to take a 32-27 lead with 3:40 left in the third period.
Handley's Solomon Finley and Cameron Jackson each had four points during the run.
The Warriors turned the ball over seven times in the third period, and trailed 39-32 entering the fourth period.
The Judges extended the lead to as much as nine in the fourth period, but the Warriors battled back.
Sherando's Isaiah Williams hit a 3-pointer, two free throws and a layup to help cut the lead to 43-41 with 2:16 left in the game.
Handley struggled to make free throws down the stretch, making only four of their next nine. However, Sherando didn't take advantage, missing a free throw, two shots and turning the ball over twice during the same span.
"We fought hard, but we just didn't execute," Garland Williams said.
Azjier Outler hit a driving layup with 39 seconds left to cut the lead to 47-43. Jackson made three of his four foul shots on the next two possessions to give Handley a 50-45 lead with 34 seconds left. A 3-pointer by Grant Golden cut the lead to 50-48 with 25 seconds remaining.
Finley then hit one of two at the foul line, giving the Warriors one more chance. Golden was fouled, but missed both free throws with eight seconds left, and Jackson sank two free throws to seal the game.
Finley and Jackson each had 16, while Tre Brown had 12 for Handley.
Golden had 19 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Warriors, while Isaiah Williams had 18 points.
Garland Williams said the team has to find a way to win some close games.
"I got to get them to believe that when you're in close games, you're still in it and you can win it," Garland Williams said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org