Warriors roll past Pride to stay unbeaten

STEPHENS CITY — Visiting Heritage (Leesburg) struggled through a dry spell in the second period of Thursday’s boys basketball game against Sherando, and it proved to be just the opening the Warriors needed.

Sherando turned a five-point deficit into a 13-point halftime lead in the second quarter against the Pride, and the Warriors rolled to their fourth straight win with a 71-51 non-district victory.

The Warriors (4-0) shot 53.8 percent (28 for 52) from the field in the win and outscored the Pride (0-6) 21-6 in the decisive second quarter.

“The guys did OK tonight. Got into a good little rhythm there after we started running some things,” Sherando coach Garland Williams said. “I know Heritage has been struggling a little bit. They had a little slump there and we were able to pull away a little bit, and that helped us.”

Heritage closed the first period on an 8-2 run to gain a 15-13 advantage and built that lead to five points early in the second quarter after senior Alec Simmons scored a fast-break bucket and Zach Garrett made a free throw one minute into the frame.

The Pride then went cold from the field, and Josh Dolsen’s putback off an A.J. Outler miss with 6:40 left in the first half cued a 19-1 run for Sherando.

Outler, who scored seven of his nine points in the second period, cut Heritage’s lead to one point with a fast-break layup on the Warriors’ next possession, and Dolsen gave Sherando the lead for good with a 3-pointer from the corner that put the Warriors up 20-18 with 5:40 left in the half.

“I felt like teamwork definitely put us ahead,” said Dolsen, who scored nine of his team-high 15 points in the second period. “Ball movement, rebounding. We definitely got better on making the passes a lot more crisp and a lot more firm. And we executed the plays a lot better.”

Five more points from Outler and four points from senior Trey Brisco pushed Sherando’s lead to 13 points before Heritage senior Morris Robinson finally ended the Pride’s drought with a fast-break layup with 12 seconds left in the first half. But Dolsen scored on a putback at the buzzer off a missed 3-point attempt by Outler to send Sherando into halftime up 34-21.

“Hustle and wanting to win. I’m not saying the guys didn’t want to win, but it was just hustle,” Pride head coach Robert Smart said. “They out-hustled us and they were more physical than we were. That’s all it was.”

Heritage opened the second half with a 6-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Zach Nylund, to pull within seven points just over a minute into the third period, but Sherando used another big run — this one a 13-4 spurt — to take a 16-point lead.

Sherando’s defense forced nine turnovers in the second half (15 total) and benefited from plenty of quick baskets in transition in the second half.

The Warriors scored 42 points in the paint in the win.

“We executed well tonight on the offensive end and our turnovers led to easy layups, which are most likely guaranteed points. We just executed well,” said Brisco, who finished with 13 points.

Heritage briefly cut Sherando’s lead back to 12 when Anthony Gray (13 points) opened the fourth period with a 3-pointer, but that was as close as the Pride got the rest of the way.

Kyle Tusing finished with 14 points for the Warriors, 10 of which came in the second half.

Robinson and Garrett each finished with 10 points apiece for the Pride.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com