Postseason play begins today for area boys and girls basketball teams as an unusual season starts coming to an end.
Skyline and Strasburg’s boys basketball teams are the only local teams with a first-round home game.
The Hawks (10-1) are the top seed in Region 3B and will host Lightridge at 6 p.m. Skyline boys basketball coach Harold Chunn said last week that his team had three goals this season. The first goal was to win a district title, which they already did. The second goal comes this week — to win a regional title.
The Hawks lost in the Region 3B semifinals last year to Central and Chunn said that experience should help his squad.
Skyline has been led this season by a balanced and deep squad. Zack Diggs (14.1 points per game), Marion ‘Budder’ Haley (10.9 points) and Marlon Jackson (10.0 points, 10.9 rebounds) have led the way. The Hawks have five players averaging at least 5 points per game. Chunn said he will also need his bench to step up and play well this week.
“When we get into the tournamen, we’re going to need them,” Chunn said of his bench. “It doesn’t matter who we play, we’re going to need them. And some of them are starting to step up and figure out ‘oh coach is going to need me.’”
Central is the No. 5 seed in the boys tourney and plays at fourth-seeded James Monroe at 7:45 p.m.
The Falcons (5-5) have been led by a solid group of juniors Ryan Barr (14.2 points), Parker Sheetz (10.4 points, 8.1 rebounds) and Ashton Baker (7.9 points, 34.1% from 3-point range) and lone senior Brevin Scott (2.6 assists, 33.3% from 3-point range).
Baker and Scott are the only two returners from last year’s Class 3 state semifinal squad. The Falcons haven’t played since Jan. 26 due to problems stemming from COVID-19.
A win by Central in the quarterfinals could set up a rematch against Skyline in the semis. Central lost twice to Skyline this season, both times by 5 points.
Strasburg’s boys have won seven straight games and will be the No. 4 seed in the Region 2B tournament. The Rams will host fifth-seeded Buffalo Gap at 7 p.m.
The Rams were shut down twice this season due to COVID-19. They played seven games in 13 days and won all of them after an 0-3 start.
Strasburg boys basketball coach Larry Fox said he is proud of the team, especially his seniors.
“When we started out 0-3 we talked about how mentally tough are we going to be,” Fox said. “Are we going to say ‘oh well this is the way the season’s going to be? But we had some great leaders in the locker room that said we’re going to turn this thing around, and I think they’ve done a really good job of it.”
The Rams have been led this season by 6-foot-4 freshman Walker Conrad (13.9 points, 10.2 rebounds), senior Trey Stinnette (11.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 44.4% from 3-point range), senior Ron Fox (9.8 points) and sophomore point guard Ryan Roller (9.1 points, 4.0 assists).
On the girls side, Stonewall Jackson is the No. 5 seed in the Region 2B tournament. The Generals play at No. 5 Buffalo Gap at 6 p.m. Stonewall Jackson is used to playing on the road as the Generals had only four home games this season.
The Generals (6-4) are led by senior Kylene Franklin (10.8 points, 3.2 assists), sophomore Mya Councill (10.0 points, 3.2 assists), senior Eli Dellinger (7.6 points, 8.0 rebounds), sophomore Annika Dellinger (6.8 points, 8.2 rebounds) and sophomore Bre Franklin (6.4 points, 1.9 assists).
Strasburg is the No. 6 seed in the Region 2B tournament and plays at No. 3 seed Page County. The Rams, who advanced to the Class 2 state semifinals last season, lost twice to the Panthers this season.
The Rams (5-8) have been led this season by freshman Macy Smith (11.0 points, 5.1 rebounds). Junior Nyla Sperry (9.3 points, 4.8 assists), senior Natalie Hott (8.5 points, 32.0% from 3-point range), junior Kenley Smith (6.8 points, 4.8 rebounds) and junior Madi Stinnette (5.7 points, 48.6% from 3-point range) have also been big contributors for the squad.
Skyline’s girls basketball team is the No. 5 seed in the Region 3B tournament and plays at fourth-seeded Brentsville at 6 p.m. The Hawks saw a 10-point halftime lead disappear in a 42-34 loss to the Tigers on Jan. 28. That was the only meeting this season between the two Class 3 Northwestern District squads.
The Hawks (7-5) have a balanced attack led by junior Jillian Shannon (8.6 points, 47.8% field goal percentage). Freshman Corin Edsell (8.5 points, 42.5% field goal percentage) and sophomore Kiley McGuire (5.4 points, 44.7% field goal percentage) have had a solid season for Skyline.
The semifinals for the Region 3B tournaments are scheduled for Wednesday with the final on Friday.
Skyline’s boys basketball team is hoping to play at home for all three games and Chunn said it’s special for everybody.
“This is big not only for myself and the other coaches,” Chunn said. “It’s big for the kids. It’s big for the seniors. It’s big for the administration. It’s big for Front Royal.”