FRONT ROYAL — Skyline’s boys basketball team started off slow on Friday night but got a little boost from its bench players.
The bench gave the team a shot in the arm early in the game and the Hawks used a strong third quarter to pull away with a 75-60 boys basketball victory over Rappahannock County.
The Hawks trailed 8-0 early in the game. With 6:20 left in the first quarter, Skyline boys basketball coach Jeff Monroe took his starting five out and replaced them with bench players.
“I think we came in not ready to play and that’s partly my fault,” Monroe said. “As a coach, you got to make sure your guys are ready to go from the start and we weren’t ready to play. The bench did a great job getting us back to where we needed to be.”
Senior L.T. Barber played a big role in that with four points in an 8-2 run by the Hawks. The Panthers responded with a 5-0 run to end the quarter, but the starters were happy with the effort of the bench players.
“I love being able to trust my teammates to come in when our starters can’t get the job done,” Skyline senior Dylan Allison said. “They were ready to play and take over for us. I mean they did a big part tonight in getting us back in the game.”
Allison also played a key role. He had 10 of his game-high 18 points in the second quarter, including two 3-pointers.
The second of his 3-pointers ended a 6-0 spurt by the Panthers and cut the lead to 21-18 with 5:43 left in the first half.
“I knew what position we were in,” Allison said of his second quarter. “We were down. We were slacking on defense a little bit. We couldn’t get a bucket. So I just stepped up my energy and tried to take my team with me so we could get that mesh back and keep playing well as we normally do.”
Rappahannock County extended the lead to 25-18, but the Hawks answered with a 9-0 run to take a 27-25 edge with 2:58 left in the second quarter. Allison had another basket during that run and Marcel Roy had five points.
The Panthers closed the half scoring seven of the last 10 points to take a 32-30 lead at the half.
The Hawks came out much stronger in the third quarter. The two teams traded the lead back and forth early in the quarter, but a 17-4 run helped Skyline pull away for good.
Skyline senior point guard Ty Clingerman drilled two 3-pointers to lead the way during the run.
“Coach (Monroe) really got us going in the locker room at halftime,” Clingerman said. “And we came out and we knew what we needed to do. And we were totally focused and we came out strong.”
The Panthers were able to cut the lead to 51-44 at the end of the third quarter, but the Hawks were in control throughout the final eight minutes. The Panthers could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Skyline had five players in double figures and Monroe said that was really nice to see.
“It shows that there wasn’t anybody being selfish, everybody was sharing the ball,” Monroe said. “And that’s big. When you get that many guys scoring, it’s hard to beat a team like that.”
Rappahannock County was led by Ethan Sumner with 17 points, Elijah Ramey with 12 and Hunter Boyce with 10.
Allison led the way for the Hawks with 18 points, while Roy had 13 and Clingerman had 12. Barber had 11 points and Jayden Norwood had 10. Matthew Tederick had 8 points off the bench.
The Hawks (4-2) have almost matched last year’s win total of five, just six games into the season. Clingerman said it’s a great feeling getting off to such a good start but the team isn’t satisfied.
“It feels like we’re accomplishing something this year, but we’re not going to stop here,” Clingerman said. “We’re trying to win every game the rest of the season. Our goal is to surpass our record from last year by a long shot. It feels like we’re more together this year, like we’re more of a team and everybody is just so much better. Coach Monroe, he works with us almost all-year round. And he just puts us in the right places and gives us the right tools to do our job on the floor.”