Warriors build lead early, coast to win over Woodgrove

STEPHENS CITY – Sherando’s lead reached double digits early in Thursday’s game against visiting Woodgrove, and the Warriors coasted from there.

The Warriors led by 10 at the end of the first period and stretched its lead to 15 points early in the second period, and their lead never dipped below 12 points the rest of the way as they picked up a 63-48 Conference 21A win over the Wolverines.

“It was nice for us to play like that. We’ve struggled the last couple games,” said Warriors head coach Garland Williams, whose team has won six of its last seven games. “Guys did a good job finding people and we hit some shots. You hit some shots and the other team doesn’t, that does help things.”

Woodgrove (5-5) struggled to hit shots early, allowing the Warriors (9-5) to an early lead. Sherando junior Alex Morefield got his team rolling with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer for a 5-0 lead, and the Warriors’ advantage grew to six points on A.J. Outler’s pull-up jumper with 5:30 left in the opening period.

Sherando senior Isaiah Armistead, who started the game on the bench, entered the contest midway through the first period and scored seven of Sherando’s next 12 points – coming on three buckets in the paint and a free throw – to help the Warriors to a 19-9 lead at the end of the first period.

Armistead finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Warriors in what turned into a physical game in the paint on multiple occasions, earning Woodgrove a pair of technical fouls in the second period.

“It was definitely a challenge,” Armistead said of matching up against a Woodgrove roster that featured just one player shorter than 6-foot, including 6-foot-7 junior Oliver Kline. “(Kline) is a good player. He brought it so I knew I had to compete with him, basically.”

Sherando, which shot 43.5 percent in the win, opened up the second quarter with a 3-pointer from Aaron Banks and a baseline floater from Jared Miller to stretch its lead to 24-9. The Warriors mustered just five points – all from the free-throw line – over the final 5:28 of the first half but still managed to carry a 33-19 lead into halftime.

Woodgrove coach Steve Douglas said the game came down to missed shots.

“We missed lots of shots the entire game. They made lots of shots and played better defense. They beat us,” said Douglas, whose team shot 37.3 percent from the floor. “There’s nothing else to say. When you don’t shoot well and the other teams shoots better, they’re gonna win.”

Woodgrove managed to cut the deficit to 12 points three times in the third period – including with 2:59 left in the frame on Carl Huber’s 3-pointer from the wing – but Sherando countered with two free throws by Morefield (12 points, 9 for 12 from free-throw line) another by Outler and a stickback by Armistead to take a 49-34 lead into the fourth quarter.

Sherando, which hit 21 of 33 free throws in the game, led by as much as 19 points in the final period.

“I thought for the most part we played decent defense,” Williams said. “They’re big guy in the middle (Kline), he’s pretty tough. We tried to defend him and he’s got good post moves. We put our big guy in front of him and tried to make him throw it over top. That helped slow him up a little bit. We had some backside help.”

Kline finished with 16 points to lead Woodgrove, while Huber had 12 points.

“I thought Jared (Miller) really did a good job on their leading scorer (Huber),” Williams said. “Not totally shutting him out but I’ve seen games where he launched them from deep and (hit) four or five 3’s a game. So Jared kept him in check and that’s a plus.”

Outler, who dealt driving assists to Armistead on several occasions in the win, added 14 points for the Warriors, who got a bit of redemption for their season-ending loss to Woodgrove in the Conference 21 tournament semifinals last season.

“If they beat us then obviously it’s just gonna be natural for us to wanna go at them,” Armistead said.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com