FRONT ROYAL — Skyline coach Jim Kenney wants his team to play differently this season and on Monday night it worked out well for the Hawks.

With an influx of talent from last year’s junior varsity squad, Kenney wants his team to use its speed to its advantage.

“We’re trying to sort of infuse a different style of play this year,” Kenney said after the team’s victory over Central on Monday. “A lot more movement, a lot more motion, a lot more running the floor. A little bit more aggressive on defense, because I feel like in the past couple years we’ve sort of just settled back and let people dictate to us. And I want to change that. They’ve really bought into it. They’re working hard at it.”

The new style of play helped the Hawks take control of their game with Central. The Hawks came out in a full-court press in the second half and changed the game.

Kenney said the Hawks used both the man-to-man press and the zone press on Monday night. The Hawks also switched from man-to-man defense in the half court to a 2-3 zone, which made a big difference in slowing down Central forward Tycara Scott.

Kenney said in the past they haven’t taught the kids too many different types of defenses but this year they have and it’s working out well.

“I don’t like playing 2-3 zone necessarily in the half court,” Kenney said. “But it’s like I told them sometimes you have to be able to play full-court man (press) with some trapping and drop back into a zone. Or play your 2-2-1 (zone press) and drop back into man. Those are some of the things we’ve been working really hard on in practice and they’re starting to pick it up.”

Skyline point guard Rachel Sirbaugh said that the players feel comfortable in whatever defense they need to be in. She said the switch from man-to-man to 2-3 zone in the second quarter was an easy adjustment for the team.

“We move very good side to side,” Sirbaugh said. “And we got a lot of people that are quicker this year with all the young girls coming up from (junior varsity).”

Just like with any defense, Sirbaugh said it’s very important for the team to have good chemistry and be able to work together.

She said that team chemistry has been a real bright spot for the squad this year.

“I think everybody just has the same mindset,” Sirbaugh said. “Everybody just wants to win. Everybody understands what their job is. And I think the chemistry is what’s going to help us do good this season.”

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