Hawks start slow, fall to Page County in Ram Hardwood Classic

STRASBURG – Skyline High School’s boys basketball team entered Wednesday’s semifinal round of the Ram Hardwood Classic at Strasburg having won four of its last five games. In the first period against Page County, however, the Hawks looked like they were still on Christmas break.

Skyline went scoreless through the first quarter of action while the Panthers scored the game’s first 23 points, and the early deficit buried the Hawks in a 72-52 non-district loss that sends them into Friday afternoon’s consolation game against Strasburg.

“I was real disappointed we didn’t come out with a lot of energy starting off,” Skyline coach Jeff Monroe said, adding that he wasn’t worried about a holiday hangover from his players. “I think you’ve gotta look at the top and go on down. I didn’t have them ready to start off.”

Skyline (5-4), which had scored 73 or more points in two of its last three games entering Wednesday, went 0-for-12 from the floor in the first period.

The Hawks didn’t get on the scoreboard until Jayden Norwood’s bucket inside 30 seconds into the second period, and though that started a short 6-0 spurt that gave Skyline some life, Page County still managed to maintain a comfortable lead that stood at 39-22 at halftime.

“To their credit they did everything right the first quarter. For us, we turned the ball over and gave them a whole lot of second-chance points. Like I said, our guys just weren’t ready to start off and I didn’t understand that. I thought our guys did a lot better the rest of the game other than there at the end.”

Skyline went on another surge in the third quarter that truly brought the Hawks back in it, an 11-2 run that saw Page County’s lead trimmed to 44-35 on Ty Clingerman’s 3-pointer from the wing with 4:15 left in the frame.

“When we cut it to nine I thought we were right there,” said Monroe, who praised the effort of his players after the first period.

Page County would lead by no fewer than 10 points for the rest of the contest after Nathan Lucas’ quick answer to Clingerman’s trey put the Panthers back up by 12 in the third period. Another Clingerman 3-pointer pulled Skyline within 53-43 with 6:25 left but Page County erupted for a 17-3 run over the next three minutes to put the game away.

The Panthers had a trio of players – Will Hart (15 points), Trevor Williams (13 points, seven rebounds) and Nathan Myers (11 points, five rebounds) – score in double figures. Largely reliant on the 3-pointer this season, Page County scored 36 points in the paint – 26 of which came in the first half – and shot 50.9 percent (27-for-53) from the floor in the win.

“I was real surprised by that because we knew they shot threes a lot and our goal was to limit them on the 3-point line,” Monroe said. “They did a good job getting the ball in the paint and scoring off layups and stuff like that. We just didn’t do a good job keeping them in front of us.”

Marcel Roy led Skyline with 14 points to go along with five rebounds, while Clingerman added 11 points on the strength of three 3-pointers. Ryan Caperton had 9 points and eight rebounds and Mason Schmitz – who helped energize Skyline in the second period with a pair of steals and driving assists – added 8 points and seven boards for the Hawks.

Skyline returns to action at 3 p.m. Friday against Strasburg, while Page County takes on Luray in the Ram Hardwood Classic championship game later that night.