Sherando girls ride strong first half to win over Skyline

FRONT ROYAL – With four games scheduled for this week, Sherando High School girls basketball coach Mike Marsh was hoping the Warriors would be afforded a chance to work in some reserves during Monday night’s road game at Skyline. A sound first half gave Marsh his wish.

The Warriors put together what Marsh called the team’s best first half of basketball all season long, and a 16-point halftime lead was enough for Sherando to hold off the Hawks for a 56-44 Northwestern District victory.

“We were trying to play legs, to be honest with you,” Marsh said after his team improved to 9-7 overall and 6-4 in district play. “We hoped we got out and got a little bit of a lead so that we could start subbing some kids in, and we did. We hadn’t seen much of Skyline. We had some film on them and we hoped we could establish a lead. We did what we wanted to do and then we played a lot of people.

“We’re in a situation with four games this week, especially with Liberty and James Wood, those are two games that are real important. We’re not looking ahead. We looked at this one first and now that we’ve done this the way we wanted to, now we can have some fresher bodies for tomorrow night.”

Skyline (7-8, 1-5 Northwestern) led only briefly in the first period before Sherando turned a 5-2 deficit into a 16-9 lead with a 14-4 run led primarily by junior Ashton Clark, who scored 10 points in the first period.

After taking a 20-13 lead into the second quarter, the Warriors blew the game open with a 17-6 run over the first 5:45 of the frame. Backed by a balanced scoring effort that saw seven different Warriors score in the period, Sherando hit 8 of 13 shots from the floor and 3 of 5 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

Sherando, which led 39-23 at halftime, shot over 59 percent (16 of 27) from the floor in the first half while limiting Skyline to just 31 percent from the field.

“That’s the best we’ve played in the first half all year,” Marsh said. “We got killed by Millbrook (last week). … We didn’t shoot well against them and they just outplayed us in every phase of the game. I was wondering how our girls would respond. I’m very pleased. We came out and played very good defense and shot the ball exceptionally well.”

The Warriors, who began digging deep into their bench early in the first half, couldn’t keep up that pace in the second half – they shot only 23 percent (6 of 26) over the final two periods – but they never saw their lead dip below 9 points.

Skyline cut the deficit to single digits twice in the second half, first late in the third period when Jordan Kenney completed a traditional 3-point play after sinking a bucket through contact on a baseline drive and again early in the fourth quarter on two free throws from Shyla Schmitz, who had a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) to lead the Hawks.

Amber Garrett scored 18 points to lead Sherando, while Clark finished with 14 points.

Colette Salyers had 8 points and eight rebounds for Skyline, Rachel Sirbaugh had 7 points and Jordan Kenney had 6 points – all in the second half – for the Hawks.