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Poston’s offense foils host Skyline

By Robert Edmonds – sports@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL — A night after a hard-fought victory against their bitter rival, Central traveled to Warren County to face Skyline in girls non-district basketball action.

The Falcons swooped into the Hawks’ gymnasium and took control early, throwing Skyline out of rhythm en route to a decisive 63-50 victory.

“We got off to a slow start,” Falcons coach Stephanie Mathews said. “That is something we wanted to work on, but we did a great job staying focused and we played a lot better and with a lot more intensity after that.”

Skyline’s Taylor Henry scored the first five points of the game, helping her team to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

But Central responded quickly. Katelyn Poston scored on a layup to light up the Central side of the scoreboard. After Kasey McDonald missed on the back side of a trip to the foul line, Jensen Hoover grabbed the offensive rebound and followed with a score.

A Central steal led to a Theresa Barela fast-break basket, and suddenly the score was tied. McDonald and Barela each added another bucket to cap an 11-0 run to give their team the lead. Central did not relinquish that lead the rest of the night.

“I think our defensive intensity was the worst I’ve seen it all season,” Hawks coach Jim Kenney said. “We missed some easy shots tonight, but you’re going to have nights where you might struggle getting shots to fall on offense. You have to come to play defense every night — especially against a good team like Central — and tonight we didn’t.”

The Falcons used quick passing and great ball handling to penetrate the Hawks defense as they sliced through the paint several times for easy points. Taking a five-point lead into the second quarter, Poston grabbed the offensive reins, scoring 11 of the Falcons’ 15 points in the quarter.

The period wound up as a battle of offensive powers, with Henry responding to Poston’s dominance with 11 points of her own. Henry added an assist to Oshene Kelly midway through the period and knocked down a 3-pointer with time winding down in the quarter to cut the deficit to five points once again at halftime.

While Central continued to concentrate on ball movement on offense, their defensive mindset was to slow Henry and force the Hawks to use other weapons. The Falcons managed to do just that as the third quarter got under way. With Henry slowed, the Hawks could not find a complement on offense as Central extended its lead to 52-41 by the end of the quarter.

“Before the game we talked about [Taylor] Henry being their go-to player,” Mathews said. “She is a great shooter and a great slasher, and we wanted to close up the lane and contest her shots to limit her presence.”

“We have to have other people step up for us on the offensive end,” Kenney said. “Taylor [Henry] is probably averaging 22 to 23 points per game for us.

“She scored 25 tonight, but our next-highest scorer only had six. We have to do better than that.”

With the Hawks in foul trouble, Central solidified the win by hitting 7-of-9 from the free-throw line in the final period and holding off the Hawks for their second win in as many nights.

“I am disappointed with the level of our performance tonight,” Kenney said. “You have to take your hats off to Central. They are a good team and they play hard. They didn’t take a possession off all night and we did. We just didn’t play Hawk basketball tonight.”

Henry scored a game-high 25 points and Kelly added 13 rebounds for Skyline in the loss.