Handley outlasts Sherando for win

STEPHENS CITY – Interestingly, after hitting the long-ball throughout the night, Handley sophomore Gus Wise went to the free-throw line for a chance to put his team ahead for good Thursday night.

Both Handley and host Sherando had traded triples and sizeable leads until the end decision came down to the final minutes, just like any contest between the Warriors and Judges should.

With an almost standing-room crowd in attendance, Wise walked to the line for two shots. He hit the first, then Sherando called timeout – to ice the two-year starter.

“I hit that first one and when I came to the bench (during the timeout) I just thought to myself, ‘I’m gonna make this one too.’ I missed a couple there at the end, but my team had faith in me,” Wise said.

He did indeed miss the two but came back for a pair more as Handley snapped a three-game losing streak in beating Sherando 65-62 on the road.

Wise’s 22 points led all scorers as the Judges improved to 2-2 in the Northwestern District, 8-7 overall. Sherando fell to 2-2, 9-7. The Warriors had won five of seven coming in.

Foul-shooting whiz Michael Brown stroked all eight free throws enroute to 16 points. Kobe Tigney also had 11 for Handley.

Sherando was led by Alex Morefield’s four 3-point boms and 18 points. Jared Miller had 11, and A.J. Outler added 10.

Wise missed a pair with 11.6 seconds left, but then iced the game at 65-62 with two free throws. Sherando’s Outler heaved a desperation shot, which missed at the buzzer

Handley opened a 10-4 lead on a Wise 3 and Sherando coach Garland Williams called timeout. Out of the break, Alex Morefield’s 3 brought the Warriors back to 10-7 with 3:25.

Outler, Morefield and Jared Miller scored consecutive buckets, ushering forth a 13-10 Warrior lead. The host had scored six straight.

Handley led twice in the second quarter by as many as seven points, but Sherando clawed back.

After a shot beyond the 3-point arc by Keevon Martin made it 26-19 Judges, Isaiah Armistead collected a traditional 3-point play and Morefield dropped in a hoop. Tigney tallied for Handley, but Morefield and Outler’s baskets put the Warriors ahead 29-28 at the half. The Warriors had outscored the Judges down the stretch 10-2.

Sherando continued its torrid pace out of the halftime locker room. Back-to-back triples by Miller and Morefield gave the Warriors a 39-30 lead. Handley coach Jason Toten called timeout with 5:32 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors had outscored the Judges 20-4 from midway in the second quarter.

The lead grew to 12 seconds later.

But just as Sherando had owned the third quarter, Handley became the aggressor in the fourth.

“We talked about at the start of the game that we had to start early, after we had gone through last week (two 1-point losses). But, when we didn’t, we said the same thing in the fourth quarter,”  said Toton.

Out of the blocks Tigney scored a hoop, Wise hit a trey and Brown contributed two free throws and a run-out hoop after a score. The Judges trailed 48-45.

Outler hit a jumper to expand the Sherando lead to 50-45, but a traditional 3-point play by Traiven Baxter pulled the Judges within two.

Sherando’s final advantage came at 58-55 when Wise assisted Kevin Curry on an inside bucket.

The Warriors tied it at 58, but Wise was up to the task. He hit the two timeout-enforced charity score to make it 60-58.

“Well, I told the team we played well in spurts, particularly in the third quarter, but we let down and they hit some shots. For the most part our defense stayed with it. They made some free throws,” said Sherando coach Garland nd Williams

A basket by Outler barely slowed Handley down. Traiven Baxter collected an old-fashioned 3-point-play and Wise’s free throwpulled the Judges within one at the 4:51 mark.

Then, the 6-foot-4 sophomore knocked down a 3 for a Handley win.