Pioneers slip past Sherando boys

STEPHENS CITY — If Tuesday night’s game between Sherando and Millbrook is any indication of what’s to come between the two boys basketball teams, the Frederick County area is in store for a treat.

The two teams went back and forth in a tightly contested battle, but the Pioneers were able to make a few more plays down the stretch to pull out a 68-63 Northwestern District victory over the Warriors.

“This was a great game. It was a great atmosphere,” Millbrook coach Derek Butler said. “It was a fun game to be a part of. Of course it’s always more fun when you’re on the winning side.”

The two teams traded leads throughout, but the Pioneers grabbed the lead for the final time on a free throw by Taryk Baylor with 3:47 left in the game for a 59-58 lead.

Alex Amos hit a free throw to extend the lead to 60-58, then Zach Harrell scored inside with 2:55 left for a 62-58 edge.

The two teams traded baskets, and Azjier Outler drained a 3-pointer for the Warriors to cut the lead to 64-63 with 22 seconds left.

Sherando put on a full-court press, but Millbrook broke it and Baylor was wide open for a layup to give the Pioneers a 66-63 lead with 12 seconds left.

“They did a good job breaking [the press], but we’ve got to have better coverage than that,” Sherando coach Garland Williams said. “Whether there was a screen or not, you can’t ever let a guy break free like that.”

Baylor wasn’t done making big plays for the Pioneers. His defense in the final seconds helped cause a turnover to clinch the win for Millbrook.

Baylor had a game-high 20 points, including 13 in the second half.

“Ever since he moved into a starting role, he has stepped up for us,” Butler said of Baylor. “I thought Trey Braithwaite had a tremendous game as well, especially in the first half. Trey gave us a big lift in the first half, and then Taryk on the back end. Those two really stepped up for us tonight.”

The Warriors had a 20-18 lead after the first quarter, including six points from Trey Brisco.

Sherando would build the lead to as much as four points, but the Pioneers responded with an 8-0 run for as four-point lead of their own. The two teams traded baskets, but an Outler 3-pointer from NBA range gave the Warriors a 34-33 halftime lead.

The two teams continued to trade spurts in the third quarter, with the lead be no more than five points the entire period.

The Pioneers were able to hurt the Warriors inside, and Sherando was in foul trouble throughout much of the game.

“They made the plays down the stretch, and that’s what good teams do,” Williams said.

Braithwaite had 19 points for Millbrook.

The Pioneers are not only in first place in the district but also the conference. They have a one-game lead on both Sherando and Loudoun County in Conference 21, but Tuesday night’s game does not count toward the conference standings. When the two teams meet again later this season, that’s the one that will count for the conference.

“We know that when we see them at home that’s the one that will really matter,” Butler said. “That game could have really big ramifications in the conference.

“This was big for the team. They smoked us pretty good both times we played them last year. … I think Zach Harrell is the only that has ever been on a team that has beaten them. So for most of the players this is the first time they’ve beaten Sherando.”

Brisco led the Warriors with 16 points, while Henry had 13. Outler added 12 for Sherando.

“We know the games that matter are in the second half of the season, but you’d like to get all of them,” Williams said. “We have to do a better job when we see them again down the road.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com