Defense helps Sherando rally past Patriots

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando played its best defensively when it counted the most.

The Warriors held Washington (W.Va.) to single digits in the fourth quarter to rally for a 67-57 non-district boys basketball victory Tuesday night.

“What we were pleased at as a coaching staff is we were able to chip at the lead, and held our composure once we were able to get the lead and do some things to keep the lead,” Sherando coach Garland Williams said. “It’s good for our guys to be in close games like this, because we’ll be in close games like this and we need to be able to make the right decisions. For the most part I think we did a good job making the right decisions at the end.”

The Warriors trailed 48-46 entering the final eight minutes, but held the Patriots to only nine points in the final quarter.

Sherando trailed 50-46 early in the fourth, but the Warriors were able to come up with a few key rebounds and get to the foul line to take the lead. Sherando’s Alex Morefield scored on a putback and senior guard Jordan Henry scored on a driving layup and then made two free throws to give Sherando a 52-50 edge.

Henry scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.

“Jordan was much more patient in the third and fourth quarter compared to the first and second,” Williams said. “He’s one of those guys that can score, but sometimes he doesn’t realize that scoring a two underneath the bucket is the same as scoring a two 17 feet away. Once he realizes that sometimes the jumper is not going, I’ve got to get the bucket, I think he’ll do a much better job.”

Two free throws by Washington’s Austin Shields tied the game at 52-52. Henry and Trey Brisco combined for three free throws for a 55-52 lead with 3:39 left in the game.

After a basket by Washington’s Becker Junkin, Josh Dolsen and Morefield hit back-to-back baskets to take a 59-54 lead with 2:45 remaining.

Sherando (3-0) pushed the lead even further on its next possession. After a time out, Henry threw a long pass to a wide-open Kyle Tusing, and the center made an easy layup for a 61-54 edge.

“It’s our press break. Really what’s supposed to happen is our guards are supposed to get the ball, but they weren’t paying attention,” Tusing said. “So I just dropped back and he threw it to me and we got the easy layup.”

Washington’s Ryan French drained his sixth 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to four, but on Sherando’s next possession Andrew Loudan drew a foul, and Washington coach Alex Feilu was given a technical foul while arguing with the referees. Loudan and Henry knocked down four straight free throws to put the game out of reach.

“[In the fourth quarter], we were able to stop the pick-and-roll a little better and do some things differently,” Williams said. “When they did go up for a shot we were able to challenge them and guys got some rebounds, which were big.”

The Warriors had to play almost eight minutes in the second half without Tusing, who had 12 of his team-high 16 points in the first half.

“It’s difficult, but you just have to trust your teammates,” Tusing said of his time on the bench. “You practice with them every day, you trust that they can do their job right. You just try to get back in and do your best not to commit another foul.”

French led the Patriots with 24 points. Sherando had four players in double figures. Brisco and Loudan each had 12 points.

Sherando lost a lot from last year’s team, but many of the role players from a year ago are stepping up and are off to a strong start. Tusing said most of the six seniors have played together for a while now.

“Our freshman year we didn’t play as much and then sophomore year we dominated all of the JV games,” Tusing said. “Junior year we didn’t play much. Then senior year, now, we’re all playing a bunch. So we got our work in last year in practice and helped out as much as we could. Now we’re ready to step up and do what we can.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com