Colonels outlast Warriors for district win

Sherando's Ashton Clark gets tied up with James Wood's Donyell Sloane during first quarter basketball action Wednesday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER – In a game during which neither team found much rhythm offensively, James Wood did the other things it needed to do in beating Sherando in Northwestern District action on Wednesday night.

The Colonels held the advantage on the glass with a 43-37 rebounding edge and hit 12 of 14 free throws to outlast the Warriors in a 42-37 victory at home.

“I know they out-rebounded us, especially on the offensive end,” said Warriors head coach Mike Marsh, whose team has lost three straight. “They had a ton of offensive boards. It was pretty discouraging, actually. And then they were 12 for 14 from the line and we were 5-for-10, so there’s a 7-point difference there. We missed six or seven uncontested layups.”

Sherando (6-6, 3-3 Northwestern) entered the third period trailing by 6 points after a sluggish first half by both squads and managed to cut the deficit to a point with a 7-0 spurt early in the frame that included 5 points from Amber Garrett (10 points in second half, six rebounds) and a bucket by Tori Seymour.

James Wood (10-1, 3-0) pushed the lead back to six at the start of the fourth quarter and Sherando again pulled back within a point but couldn’t get over the hump. The Colonels used a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 34-26, capping the spurt with a Makayla Firebaugh 3-pointer off an inbounds pass with 3:30 to play. Firebaugh’s 3, her only trey of the night, came on Wood’s fifth shot attempt of the possession.

James Wood's Susannah Carter knocks the ball away from Sherando's Kathryn Robertson during second quarter action Wednesday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

“Brutal,” Marsh said of the shot. “… That just changes the whole demeanor of how we have to play, especially when we previously had a chance to score and take the lead and missed a layup. We missed six uncontested layups and another half of those were semi-contested ones but makeable ones. We talked about that. we had to make our layups.”

The Warriors did cut the deficit to 37-35 once more on a 3-pointer by Ashton Clark – who had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds – with 1:55 left but three Sherando turnovers, a timely bucket inside by Wood’s Donyell Sloane and three key free throws sealed the Colonels’ win.

Senior Amber Wooldridge led Wood with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Firebaugh added 11 boards for a double-double. Sloane had 10 points and nine rebounds.

“We’re just making mistakes that we need to better at,” Marsh said. “Once we get through that and mature some more, hopefully we’ll solidify things and get ready for the next one and keep on playing through it.”

Things started slowly in the first period, as Sherando opened with a 5-2 lead before Wood finally hit its first field goal  with 3:40 left in the opening frame that helped knot the score at 5. Both teams traded 3-pointers before going scoreless for the next four minutes of action, and the Colonels closed the first half with an 8-2 run to take an 18-12 lead into the break.

Sherando's Victoria Seymour makes a baseline move on James Wood's Donyell Sloane during second quarter action Wednesday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

Sherando – which ended the night shooting 26.9 percent (14 of 52), only slightly worse than the Colonels’ 27.5 percent (14 of 51) – shot just 20.8 percent in the first half to James Wood’s 26.1 percent.

The Warriors, who limited the dangerous Firebaugh to 10 points, also forced 20 turnovers and tallied seven steals in the win.

“We played much better tonight when it comes to our team defense and our offense,” said Marsh, who added that the Warriors are starting to overcome some of the youth and inexperience that Sherando has faced this season, “we just aren’t there yet. We have a lot of improvement to do. Fortunately it’s not like we’re maxing out. We’re probably a third of the way, half the way where we should be, and we know that and we have 10 games left to get there.”

James Wood's Emma Van Horn, left, and Sherando's Marah Humphreys fight over a loose ball during second quarter action Wednesday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

Sherando's Ashton Clark makes a move inside against James Wood's Amber Wooldridge during second quarter action Wednesday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily