Warriors fall to Briar Woods

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando went through a learning experience on Wednesday night.

The Warriors saw a four-point lead evaporate in the final two minutes in a 31-29 loss to Briar Woods in non-district girls basketball action.

“I told them in the locker room I’m taking full responsibility, because I didn’t prepare us well enough to handle a late game lead,” Sherando coach Mike Marsh said. “We should have done better. We had a four-point lead. In that situation we weren’t ready to handle a four-point lead and protect the ball. We should have been better at it. I expected us to be better. We’ve worked on it but just not enough yet.”

The Warriors made a real surge at the start of the fourth period led by junior Davina Lane. The guard scored five points to help give the Warriors a 26-23 lead with 2:17 left in the game.

Briar Woods’ Kayla Castro scored inside the paint to cut the lead to 26-25, but a 3-pointer by Sherando’s Kelli White gave the Warriors a 29-25 lead with 1:45 remaining.

The Falcons responded with a basket by Amani Rascoe. The Warriors missed their next three shots. Briar Woods tied the game at 29 on two free throws by Castro with 1:01 left in the game.

Sherando turned the ball over with 34 seconds left. After a timeout, Briar Woods passed the ball around and Skylar Sload hit the game-winning jumper with 11 seconds left.

The Warriors again turned the ball over with five seconds left, and Lane’s heave from past half court at the buzzer was off the mark to end the game.

Briar Woods coach Chris Pasternak said he was very proud of his team, which came into the game 0-3.

“You gotta give our girls credit for not quitting,” Pasternak said. “They got up two, they got up three. When we couldn’t hit a shot to save our lives. Every time they pushed up on us, we responded with buckets, and you got to give our girls credit for that. Neither team played too well tonight, but those games are going to happen. You just got to gut it out. Fortunately, we were able to get a little bit of luck there at the end, little bit of bounce. And I’m happy for the girls.”

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half. With 4:27 left in the first half, the two teams had combined to shoot 10.5 percent (4-for-38) from the field. They combined to miss the first 15 shots of the second period, and had only scored 10 combined points.

Sherando had a hard time scoring against Briar Woods’ match-up 1-3-1 zone throughout the first half.

“We just really struggled with their zone, and I’m not sure why,” Marsh said. “We usually play excellent against zones. When I saw them in a 1-3-1, I thought this is perfect, we’re set. They were very active and did a good job keeping us off balance early, and we just struggled in the first half.”

Briar Woods sophomore Savannah Conner gave the Falcons a spark as she connected on three consecutive 3-pointers to give them a 13-7 lead with 2:27 left in the first half.

Sload hit two baskets and Sarah Vestal hit one to help give the Falcons a 19-11 edge at the half.

Sherando (3-1) was able to cut into the lead in the third period. Marsh said he put White on Conner to slow her down, and the Warriors out-scored the Falcons 8-2 in the third period. White also scored four of her team-high 11 points in the period.

“She played an outstanding game,” Marsh said of White. “She had a good floor game, a great defensive game. You can’t ask for more.”

Conner led the way for the Falcons with 12 points. Pasternak said he hopes this will give his team a spark moving forward.

“We needed that win,” he said. “This is a tough game for us, especially when your confidence is a little shaken. Sherando’s always been a tough place to play. I’ve played here before on different levels, and this is a tough place to play. Any time you get a win here, no matter how it looks, you gotta take it.”

White had five rebounds to go with her points. Lane had five points, five rebounds and three steals, and Madison Leckie had six points, six rebounds and four steals for Sherando.

“We know we’re a couple games away from hitting our stride,” Marsh said. “We’re learning fast. We had a real good summer — it shows. We’re ahead of schedule from what I expected, which is good. It’s just we’ve got some things to work on yet.”

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