Slow start dooms Skyline in loss

FRONT ROYAL – Skyline got off to a slow start and couldn’t recover on Tuesday night.

The Hawks dropped their season opener 74-49 to the Cougars in non-district boys basketball action.

Before the game Skyline’s gym was dedicated to former principal Andrew Keller, who retired after the past school year. The gym will now be called Andrew Keller Court.

The Cougars raced out to an early lead and didn’t look back.

Kettle Run scored the first seven points of the game. The Hawks cut the lead to 7-4 on baskets by Brandon Wells and Evan Lester.

The Cougars closed the period with a 10-3 run, including two 3-pointers by Grayson Reigel.

“We got out to a bad start. They jumped out on us,” First-year Skyline coach Jeff Monroe said. “We made some mistakes. We missed some easy shots. … Against a good team like this you can’t make those mistakes, because they’ll make you pay for it.”

The Cougars stretched the lead to 27-11 with 3:43 left in the second period, before the Hawks responded with a run. A 3-pointer by Colin Smith and a free throw each by Antwan Swain and Ted Casile helped trim the lead to 30-16.

Trailing by 16 at the half, the Hawks came out strong in the third period. Smith and Swain hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 34-24 with 7:03 left in the third period.

Skyline eventually cut the lead to 42-34 on a 3-pointer by Lester with 2:25 left in the third period. The Cougars closed the period with a 10-3 spurt to build the lead back to 15.

“Our kids fought,” Monroe said. “… Then their kids came back to their credit. They’re an experienced team.”

Kettle Run pulled away throughout the final period to put the game out of reach.

Monroe said he was much more pleased with the effort of his layers against Kettle Run than he was in a scrimmage against Strasburg last week.

The Cougars were led by Max Lilek, who had 10 of his game-high 22 points in the third period. Noah Goins and Reigel had 15 points each, and Tyler Trimble added 14 points.

The Hawks were without senior TrayQuan Diamond due to a shoulder injury. Monroe said he hopes Diamond will be back next week.

Swain led the way for the Hawks with 15 points. Lester had 14 and Smith had 12 for Skyline.

Monroe said it will take a while for the team to get used to his coaching style, but he feels good about the team he has.

“I really feel like we can be competitive this year. The biggest thing is getting them to adjust to what we’re doing. The offense is a little bit different than what they’ve done in the past,” Monroe said.

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