Defense advances Sherando to finals

PURCELLVILLE – All season long, Sherando’s girls basketball team has been known for its defense.

Only once in the last six games – all Sherando wins – has the opponent scored more than 42 points.

Wednesday night, playing away, it was much the same thing. The Warriors knocked off Woodgrove 52-38, and once again it was the “D” which did the deed.

Not only did coach Mike Marsh’s squad hold the Wolverines to less than 40 points, it allowed just two baskets in the final five minutes to claim its first 4A West Conference 21-A semifinal victory. It will go to Millbrook at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the championship round.

“No, I wasn’t worried. I knew we could play defense. We just needed to make our rotations and I had confidence in that,” said Sherando forward Becca Travis.

Travis scored 11 points to go along with Davina Lane’s game-high 23 and Amber Garrett’s 10 as the Warriors watched an 18-point lead dwindle to six twice in the fourth quarter before pulling it out.

“Every girl on our team contributed tonight. The ones who played and the ones who cheered. It was a full team effort,” said Marsh.

Lane hit 14 of 16 free throws to furnish points when field goals were lacking.

“It’s just a matter of concentration, you just block everything out and go up there and make them,” Lane said.

Her most important free throws arguably came in the fourth quarter when the junior, made six of eight.

Woodgrove, which trailed 38-20 with 2:56 remaining in the third quarter, clawed back to trail by a half-dozen points twice. Its second-to-last basket was by Jordan Wick, coming with five minutes left in the game, but Sherando moved ahead 47-36 with 2:41 to go.

The Wolverines would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.

Sherando turned the ball over 19 times compared to 16 for the home team, but its 24-9 advantage on the boards proved to be the difference maker.

“It’s the first time (Sherando) has been in the finals as far as I know,” said Marsh. “We’re ecstatic. It means we get to play another round.

“Davina had-what – 23 points and a bunch of rebounds. And Becca did the job in the first quarter. She jumped out to eight points in a hurry.

“The last time we played here (Jan. 14, a 62-43 loss) they jumped way out ahead of us, and we had to fight back. We made a point of starting fast,” said the coach.

Despite turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter, Sherando found itself ahead 18-6 at the end of the period.

Travis enjoyed four hoops and five rebounds and then started passing the ball around to share the wealth.

“Whatever I can do, scoring, rebounding, making steals. That’s what I’ll do,” said Travis.

Sherando jumped ahead 6-0. After a timeout by Woodgrove, the Wolverines briefly closed the game to 6-4, but Travis’ basket and Amber Garrett’s three made it 11-4.

After Lilly Forrester scored a hoop for Woodgrove, Travis, Lane and Madison Leckie scored 2s and Kathryn Robinson added a free throw for Sherando to give the visitors the 12-point advantage at quarter’s end.

That lead was expanded to 17 on a Sherando basket by Robinson before Woodgrove started to cut into the pad in the second quarter. Jordan Wick knocked in a 3-pointer and then Kaleigh Owen scored a deuce to cut the Warrior lead to 12 with 54.3 seconds left in the half.

Garrett’s basket made it 31-17 at intermission.

Sherando had the 18-point lead midway through the third quarter, but Wolverine Madi White (team-high 13 points) scored five consecutive tallies for the Wolverines. It was 38-25 after three quarters.

White continued her hot hand into the fourth quarter. She dropped through two twos and a triple. The score was 38-32 and Sherando coach Mike Marsh called timeout with 6:31 remaining in the game.

White had scored 12 unanswered points.

Marsh called for another respite, after which Lane and Garrett scored to move Sherando ahead by 10.

Just as quickly, The Wolverines struck back. Powered  by four consecutive points by Wick it was 42-36 with about five minutes to go.

Lane wrapped three free throws around a Garrett two, and Woodgrove lost starter Camryn Fagan to fouls.

After two Sherando timeouts, White scored just the second basket for her team in the last five minutes.

Lane then scored the last five points. She hit three free throws and earned a pass from Travis after the latter made a steal.

“I’m proud to be a Warrior tonight,” said Travis.