Poor start dooms Skyline against James Wood

FRONT ROYAL – Skyline’s girls basketball team continued to see the same struggles that the Hawks have seen all season long on Friday night against visiting James Wood.

The Hawks fell behind quickly in the opening period and, lacking the offensive firepower to rally from the early deficit, saw the Colonels steadily pull away for a 56-24 Northwestern District win.

“We played fairly even with them after the first quarter. But again, you’ve got to come out better than that,” Hawks head coach Jim Kenney said.

“We struggle mightily offensively. We get shots, we just can’t knock them down. Defense is where our bread and butter needs to be and it just isn’t there. It just is not there. We’re trying. The girls are working hard every day. Hopefully it will start to click. We’ve only been doing it for three months now. Maybe it takes four months, I don’t know.”

James Wood led 6-4 after the first two minutes of action after Skyline sophomore Nikea Whitmore hit a deep jumper from the wing, but the Colonels reeled off a 13-0 run to essentially put the game out of reach for the Hawks.

The Colonels scored on three straight fast-break layups on three steals during the run, which was also powered by a 3-pointer from Danielle Rizzari from the top of the arc with 3:05 left in the opening period.

“I told my girls, you see how much you’re made of when you come off of a loss, and that’s exactly what we were coming out of and I thought we did well,” Colonels head coach Krista Crites said. “We came with intensity. We were shooting very well. We were rebounding tonight. Rebounding has always been our weak point thus far and I think we did much better on the boards.”

Leading 19-6 heading into the second quarter, James Wood quickly extended the margin to 20 points behind 3-pointers from Rizzari and Keiana Brooks.

Skyline (1-12, 0-4 Northwestern) pulled within 16 points twice in the second period following buckets by Whitmore and Rachel Clifton, but the Colonels closed the half with a 3-pointer by Brooks to take a 33-14 lead into halftime.

Brooks finished with 16 points for James Wood, while Rizzari added 12 for the Colonels. Eleven different players scored points for the Colonels.

“Our point of emphasis was [Brooks] and Rizzari and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do,” Kenney said. “You can’t give them open looks because they can shoot.”

Skyline mustered only two field goals in the second half while being outscored 23-10 over the final two quarters.

Whitmore led the Hawks with 10 points, while Clifton added six, all of which came in the first half.

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