Second-quarter surge lifts Warriors past Trailblazers
STEPHENS CITY — In a game of rallies, Sherando was able to build a big lead and hold on at the end on Wednesday night.
The Warriors used their defense to take control of the game and held on for a 70-63 non-district boys basketball victory over Spotswood.
The decisive run came in the second period. Trailing, 24-13, the Warriors used a 17-2 run over the last five minutes of the first half to take a 30-26 edge at halftime. Sherando did not trail in the second half.
“We took a timeout to say ‘hey let’s go and try a little pressure here,'” Sherando coach Garland Williams said. “We got some pressure, got some steals to keep us close. And I think the guys thought well, OK, we can do much better on the offensive end, too — and they did. We were able to get some more steals to advance the lead there.”
Sherando’s Tad Dean and Aaron Banks each had 6 points during the run.
The Warriors (5-8) were able to cause some turnovers, and they also did a better job on the boards during the stretch.
Dean said the defense helped the offense come to life as they were able to get some easy baskets in transition. Dean said they were able to speed the game up as well.
“I like when we play at a quick pace — up-tempo, I think that’s when we play well,” Dean said.
The Warriors shot 50 percent (7-for-14) from the field in the second period.
Sherando took the momentum and kept it going in the third period. The Warriors closed the third period on a 20-8 run to take a 53-35 lead into the final eight minutes of play. Sherando was 8-for-14 from the field in the third period.
“The guys shot well tonight,” Williams said. “I don’t know if it was a thing of we had those days off and we had that rest. We try to do a lot of shooting. It was just one of those nights where they fell. And hopefully that’s a good sign that they’ll fall in the future, because we spend a lot of time with that.”
A 3-pointer by Sherando’s George Gibson gave the Warriors a 58-38 lead with 5:53 left, but the Trailblazers had one more run in them.
Spotswood (11-4) went to a full-court press to try to cause some Sherando turnovers down the stretch and it worked.
Spotswood’s Kaleb Strawderman, who had a game-high 28 points, scored 15 points in the fourth period. Strawderman hit four of his eight 3-pointers in the final period to help the Trailblazers cut the lead.
The Trailblazers were able to pull within six, 64-58, with 1:39 left.
However, Sherando’s Michael Perry, Banks and Gibson combined for six free throws to help seal the victory.
“That last three, four minutes they put on a serious surge,” Williams said. “And I knew they would, because they have some pretty good shooters. I knew that it was coming. I thought we would do a better job covering the shooters. But the main thing is we closed out as far as making foul shots and securing the ball at the end. We’re very pleased and very proud of our guys.”
Sherando lost to Spotswood, 73-53, on Dec. 27. The Trailblazers were playing without 6-foot-9 center Daniel Ouderkirk due to injury.
Gibson had 17 points to lead the Warriors, while Dean had 16 points and 5 rebounds. Perry had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Banks had 11 points for Sherando.
The Warriors got off to a slow start to the season. Several players were on the Warriors’ football team and missed the first few weeks of practice due to Sherando advancing to the state semifinals.
Sherando has now won four of its last five games. The Warriors play at rival Millbrook tonight.
“I love playing Millbrook,” Dean said. “It’s a big game. There will be a lot of people there. So we just got to play like we did (Wednesday), make some shots, play some defense and I think we’ll be good.”