Troxell leads Wildcats to win

Warren County's Dallas Crawford, left, and Skyline's Nikea Whitmore get tied up with the ball during girls basketball action Thursday night at Skyline High School. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — Senior Autumn Troxell closed out her senior regular season by securing a career-high 26 points as Warren County waltzed to a 55-27 regular-season ending victory over Skyline on Thursday night.

Troxell notched 14 field goals, she was 5-of-7 from the charity line and made three steals as Warren County avenged an earlier loss to Skyline.

At one point in the second half, Troxell was responsible for 19 of her team’s 26 second half points.

Troxell’s career game against her school’s most ardent enemy overshadowed a healthy effort by Skyline freshman Rachel Clifton. Clifton totaled 18 points for the Hawks, but all but two of them occurred in the first half.

Warren County coach John Kelly used a box-and-one defense focused on Clifton in the second half.

Warren County's Autumn Troxell, center, shoots a reverse layup during high school girls basketball action Thursday night at Skyline High School. Rich Cooley/Daily

A key play was made between Troxell and her younger opponent in the second half.

Clifton had brought her team within 29-24 of the Wildcats with 2:30 to go in the third frame. Clifton had an additional free throw, which missed and went into Troxell’s hands.

The 6-foot-2 all-around athlete wove her way down-court among the smaller Hawks and finally tilted in a reverse layup. That was a three-point swing.
Instead of pulling within four, Skyline went down seven with 2:10 to go.

Even after a Skyline called timeout, she continued her assault. When Troxell came out of the game with 2:43 left in the game, she got an all-around loud wave of applause of the sizeable crowd at the Hawks’ nest.

“She just killed us. Just killed us,” Skyline coach Jim Kenney said.

Still, the coach said his team’s chances would have been improved if Clifton had received some help.

“Rachel gets 18 and we score 25. That’s a problem,” Kenney said.

For all the trouble. The teams that split their regular season games will draw together Monday night for a third chapter of the town’s major rivalry.

They will meet in the quarterfinal round of the Conference 28 tourney which plays out next week.

The Wildcats improved to 13-10. They have won five of seven, losing in that spell to powerful Clarke County and George Mason.

The Hawks fell to 5-16 after causing the only undefeated team in the conference, John Champe, a 45-34 loss on Monday night.

Skyline whipped Warren 26-17 on Dec. 19. In that game, Troxell had just five points.

“I don’t really think about scoring for scoring sake. I just try to score and get my team involved,” Troxell said.

Of the oncoming freshman, Clifton, from her neighboring school, Troxell said, “I don’t know her, but I do know her family. She has the potential to be real good.”

Clifton had three 3-point shots and four rebounds. Jayka Jones added four boards and a block.

Behind Troxell were junior forward Samantha Schroyer (12 points, two steals, one block) and junior Hayley Martin, who collected two triples en route to finishing with eight points.