Miller delivers as Warriors top Judges
STEPHENS CITY — Sherando’s boys basketball team held off visiting Handley on Friday night, and it was a sophomore who delivered down the stretch for the Warriors.
Jared Miller, who saw extended playing time on Friday night due to the absence of injured guard Trey Brisco, hit some key free throws over the final two minutes of action for the Warriors to help Sherando hold on for a 62-59 Northwestern District win.
“The second half, Jared stepped up and we started playing a little better defense, and we just got the win at the very end,” Warriors senior Jordan Henry said. “We made a few mistakes, some of the turnovers that shouldn’t have happened, but it was still a good win.”
After trailing for nearly the entire first half and for most of the third period, Sherando (15-4) rallied to take a 44-43 lead into the fourth period.
The two teams traded points for most of the final quarter before the Warriors started to create some distance with 2½ minutes to play. Two offensive rebounds by Rhett Morris led to a third-chance bucket by Sherando junior A.J. Outler with 2:28 to play, and Miller and Outler knocked down two free throws each over the next minute to give the Warriors a 57-49 lead.
Handley pulled back within five points following a traditional three-point play by senior KeSean Robinson with 1:16 left, but Miller converted two more free throws on Sherando’s next possession to extend the lead to 59-52.
The Judges came back with a 3-pointer by Keevon Martin with 51 seconds left before Miller sank two more free throws with 29 seconds remaining after misfiring on two on his previous trip to the line.
Another Handley 3, this one from Gus Wise, cut Sherando’s lead to 61-58 with 20 seconds left, and a Judges steal off the ensuing inbounds pass led to a foul and a made free throw by Kobe Tigney to pull the Judges within two points.
Miller, who finished with nine points, made one of two free throw attempts with eight seconds remaining to give the Warriors a 62-59 lead, and Sherando’s defense came up with a stop on the final possession of the game when Henry deflected a cross-court pass to seal the win.
“We’d love to have them all but [Miller] was 7 of 10 from the line and we’ll take 70 percent,” Warriors coach Garland Williams said. “If he didn’t make the previous free throws, we wouldn’t have been there. But as far as a sophomore playing in a highly intense game, I thought he did a good job handling himself, mainly being at the line.”
Handley got off to a hot start in the first period, opening the game on a 12-2 run that led to a 17-10 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Sherando pulled within 19-17 with a 7-2 run to open the second period, which included four points from Henry.
“I realized that we were not attacking as much so I tried to drive as much as possible and get to the rim, and try to get my teammates to score and me to score,” said Henry, who scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the second period.
The Warriors trailed 28-25 at halftime and saw Handley’s lead stretch to 39-31 after a trey by Martin with 4:15 left in the third quarter. Sherando answered Martin’s 3 with a trey by Outler, which started an 11-2 run that saw Sherando take a 42-41 lead on a bucket by Kyle Tusing with two minutes left in the period.
Handley shot 45.8 percent (22 for 48) from the field and turned the ball over 14 times in the loss, while the Warriors shot 46.3 percent (19 for 41).
Tusing finished with 14 points and five rebounds for Sherando, while Outler added 10 points. Henry had six rebounds to go along with his 16 points.
Robinson led Handley with 21 points and eight rebounds.
“I think Jordan did a good job scoring low. Noah Ford came in and did a good job with some rebounding and some stickbacks,” Williams said. “The main thing we were looking at is defending their 3-point shooters. … They had three people that could knock down. Defensively, we did a decent job.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org