Judges hold off Warriors

WINCHESTER – Despite an exemplary second-half for Sherando High School boys basketball senior A.J. Outler, the Warriors could not produce enough points in that frame and lost to Handley 66-60 on Monday night at Hunter Maddex-Jimmy Omps fieldhouse.

Outler scored 16 of his team-leading 18 points in the second 16 minutes as Sherando responded from a 26-point deficit late in the game, but it was not enough to turn back a 27-point effort by Handley sophomore Keevon Martin.

Martin tallied 19 points in the first half and then scored key baskets in half two as the Warriors narrowed the game to the final six points by outscoring Handley by 14 points in the fourth quarter.

Otherwise it seemed for a while as if Handley (14-7 overall, 6-2 Conference 21West, 6-2 Northwestern District) was going to blow Sherando (12-8, 5-4, 5-3) out of this conference/district match.

The Warriors will take that record to Harrisonburg tonight where a victory will give Coach Garland Williams’ club the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament and an automatic bid to the Region 4A West tournament.

This game at Handley did not affect those standings.

“Yeah, I had been in a little slump,” said Martin, who knocked down five field goals from beyond the 3-point line, “but I hit a couple tonight and got into the flow of the game and it felt good.”

“You know Martin hadn’t scored for three or four games but we told our guys that he could score,” said Williams, whose team was swept by Handley this year.

Handley has now won six straight and in three of those games it had allowed 43 or fewer points.

It held Sherando to seven points in Monday’s first half and just five in the second period. Then the Warriors started to get back into the flow.

“You know we go down there (tonight) and play Harrisonburg and they’re a good team. We wanted to get some momentum out of this game tonight,” said Williams.

The Warriors had won four straight coming into the game.

Handley went on a 14-1 run in the first half on the way to a 32-12 intermission lead.

From the 2:10 mark of the first quarter Sherando scored just one point until Michael Perry contributed a field goal with 2:51 showing in the first half.

Even then the score was 23-10 Handley.

The Warriors would cut the lead to 23-12, but that was the closest they would come until late in the game.

With Martin scoring seemingly at will Handley rattled off nine straight points to end the half with a 32-12 lead.

Sherando had accounted for 12 points in the first half. It had made just five baskets.

Gus Wise gave Handley its biggest lead of 48-22 when he ripped the first of two 3’s .

But Sherando was finding its groove. The Warriors outscored the Judges 12-2 into the fourth quarter. That got the Handley lead down to 50-34

Twice the Warriors came within 15.

Alex Morefield, who connected on three 3-point field goals in the second half, hit one from distance with 1:38 showing to cut Handley’s lead to 59-49 and Williams called a timeout.

Handley remained ahead 65-54 with 52.6 left, but then Outler canned a 3 for a 65-57 lead with 30.9 seconds left.

Sherando got the ball again off a jump ball possession but Handley got it back. Wise scored one of two free throws and Jared Miller’s 3 for Sherando completed the scoring.

The Warriors had outscored the Judges 32-14 in the fourth quarter. Outler had 10 of those points.

“We want him scoring more than in the second half. Make no mistake about that,” said Williams. “We want him scoring early, in the middle and late.”