Third-quarter surge gives Sherando victory

STEPHENS CITY — It took a while for Sherando to get in a groove on Wednesday night, but once the Warriors did they made quick work of Skyline.

The Warriors used a strong third period to pull out a 65-44 Northwestern District boys basketball victory over the Hawks.

“I think Skyline played us really well in the first half,” Sherando coach Garland Williams said. “In the second half we were able to create a little more pressure and with it we were able to get some easy buckets that helped to spread the lead a little bit.”

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, as Sherando took a 9-6 edge after the first period.

The two teams went back and forth early in the second period. A basket and a free throw by Brandon Wells gave the Hawks an 11-9 lead with 6:39 left in the second period.

The two teams traded baskets until the Warriors used an 8-2 run to take a 19-15 lead with 18 seconds left in the half. Sherando’s Noah Ford gave the Warriors a boost with four points during the spurt. The Warriors held a 21-17 lead at the half.

“I’m sure at the half in the Sherando locker room they were feeling like they had played a poor half of basketball, and yet they were up by four points,” Skyline coach Jacob Bates said. “I think if we would have played with a little more energy in the first half we would have had the lead instead of being down four. Instead, we held back and we’re like, we’ll wait and see what’s going to happen.”

Things changed quickly in the third period. Skyline’s Brandon Walters was able to score inside to start the period, but the Warriors answered with an 8-2 run to take a 29-21 lead.

Sherando senior Jordan Henry had four points during the run, and had all 10 of his points during the period.

“He did a good job of getting himself going,” Williams said of Henry. “After the first half I had to get on him a little. He did a good job in the second half of doing the things he’s capable of doing. He really got his game going and was a real spark for us.”

The Hawks (9-9) did respond with a tip-in by Walters and a 3-pointer from Colin Smith to cut the lead to 29-26, but the Warriors then put the game out of reach.

Sherando (14-4) used a 16-2 run to close out the third and take a 45-28 lead. Henry continued to make plays on both sides of the ball, and finished the period with an emphatic dunk.

Smith led the Hawks with 11 points, while Jerrius Baltimore added 10. Bates said Baltimore has been a real spark for the team over the last few weeks.

“His leadership is just coming through,” Bates said. “I think he can tell that we’re not playing very well as a team, and that he needs to give us a spark. I really appreciate the way he’s been playing, and I think once the rest of the team catches up with him and plays at the level that he’s playing they will appreciate him as well.”

Kyle Tusing had 12 points to lead Sherando, while Azjier Outler added 11. Henry finished with 10 points on Sherando’s Senior Night.

The Warriors were coming off a tough loss to Millbrook on Tuesday night, but Williams said that was no excuse for how Sherando played in the first half.

“Millbrook is a good team, and they did a good job. It was a close game, but we have to focus on our last four games,” Williams said. “We have Handley coming in here on Friday, and that’s going to be another tough game. I know they are not in our conference, but it’s a rivalry game. We have to be ready to play well.”

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