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Scoring drought costly as Warriors fall to Pioneers

Sherando's Aaron Banks, left, and Timonjah Washington, right, double team Millbrook's Isaac Brown during second quarter action of the Northwestern District semifinals Thursday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER — Sherando went over eight minutes without a basket in the second half Thursday night, and it proved costly.

MIllbrook used a big second-half run to pull out a 61-48 victory over Sherando in the Northwestern District boys basketball tournament semifinals on Thursday. The win gives the Pioneers a berth in next week’s Region 4C tournament.

“The defense stepped up in the third and the fourth quarter,” Millbrook coach Rob Harris said. “I thought we did a very good job of cutting off some things that they were doing. And made them go to some alternative sets than they had been running and that we were kind of prepared for.”

The Warriors (12-12) started the second half with a 10-5 run to take a 37-33 lead with 4:22 left in the third period. Sherando’s Tad Dean and George Gibson each had four points during the run.

Millbrook (20-4) responded by closing the period out with a 10-0 run for a 43-39 lead.

Sherando's Aaron Banks looks for help as Millbrook's Jordan Jackson applies the pressure during second quarter action of the Northwestern District semifinals Thursday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

Sherando was successful for most of the first three quarters by using a 2-3 zone defense, but Harris said he told his players at the half that they needed to attack the zone more in the second half.

“I thought in the first half we were being a tad bit passive,” Harris said. “We were letting the zone dictate to us how we wanted to play. We utilized some individuals in different positions to get better dribble penetration. And we did a much better job in the second half of attacking the zone and then dictating offense that way.”

Sherando coach Garland Williams said that the 3-point shooting of Millbrook’s Benjamin Curtin and Jordan Funk hurt the Warriors.

“We held in that zone as long as we could,” Williams said. “You know with Curtin and Jordan (Funk), we were hoping they would have an off night. And they missed a few, but they made the ones that were really needed in that third and fourth quarter and that stretched the lead. And we felt that it was a little tough for us to guard (in man-to-man defense).”

The Pioneers extended the lead to 46-39 with 4:59 left, and Williams said they had to switch to the man-to-man defense at that point to try to keep the game close.

Sherando's Timonjah Washington fires a three-point shot over Millbrook's Jordan Jackson during first quarter action of the Northwestern District semifinals Thursday night in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

However, the Pioneers pulled away for good with 10 straight points for a 56-39 lead with 1:16 left.

The Warriors missed 12 straight shots during the end of the third and the start of the fourth periods.

Sherando’s Tad Dean hit a 3-pointer with 1:07 left to snap the Warriors’ shooting slump, but the Pioneers’ lead was too much to overcome.

Millbrook was led by Funk, Isaac Brown and Jalen Tyson with 11 points each.

The Pioneers will play at Handley today in the Northwestern District tournament final.

Sherando's Michael Usa, center, and George Gibson, right, go up to defend against Millbrook's Trammell Anthony during first quarter action of the Northwestern District semifinals Thursday night. Rich Cooley/Daily

Harris, who is in his first year as coach, said he’s been very pleased with how the players have played this season.

“These kids have played so hard and so well,” Harris said. “And what we try to do is, we try to make sure that we coach them the entire year in a way where they’re able to go out there and be successful.”

Sherando was led by Dean with 13 points and Aaron Banks with 10 points.

The Warriors got off to a slow start to the season due to some of the players missing the first couple weeks of practice due to the football team advancing to the Class 4 state semifinals. Williams said the team came a long way after the slow start.

“All in all, from where we started to where we finished it was a successful year,” Williams said. “…Doing as well as we have done for the last month here — very proud of these young men. And they have nothing to hang their heads about. They gave it their best and that’s all we can ask for out of them.”

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