FRONT ROYAL — Skyline’s boys basketball team started off a little slow but finished the game strong in the second half on Monday.
The Hawks dominated the second half in a season opening 73-42 non-district victory over Rappahannock County to give first-year coach Harold Chunn his first win. The Hawks scored 45 second-half points.
“At first they were just kind of playing like individuals,” Chunn said. “Then they were like ‘oh if we just play team ball we can put those points on the board.’ The second half was phenomenal. That third and fourth quarter, we played team ball.”
Both teams started out sluggish with the Hawks holding a 9-5 lead after the first period.
Skyline used a 13-6 run to take a 22-11 advantage with 2:23 left in the first half. Senior Jayden Norwood had six points during the run.
The Panthers (0-1) responded with a 6-1 run to cut the lead to 23-17 with 1:12 left in the first half.
A 3-pointer by Ethan Caperton and another basket by Norwood gave the Hawks a 28-17 halftime lead.
Chunn said one thing he was not pleased with at the half was free throws. Skyline was 3-for-13 (23.1%) at the half from the foul line.
Rappahannock County’s Richard Lillard made two free throws early in the third period to cut the lead to 28-19. The Hawks then went on a 20-8 run to build a 48-27 edge. Freshman Zackary Diggs had five points during the run to lead the Hawks.
Junior Mason Schmitz said that the Hawks came together as a team in the second half.
“I think once we started getting a few stops on defense that got us going,” Schmitz said. “At halftime, we came in here and we were told a lot of things that we needed to work on coming back out and that helped us a lot.”
The Hawks (1-0) kept the pressure on in the fourth period as they held the Panthers to only five field goals in the final quarter.
All 10 players that played scored for the Hawks. Schmitz said team-work was a big key for the Hawks.
“Team-work is everything,” Schmitz said. “If you find the open man, he’s definitely getting the ball in the bucket for sure.”
Grant Lillard led the Panthers with 14 points.
Schmitz led the Hawks with 17 points, six assists and five rebounds. Norwood had 13 points and four rebounds and Marion ‘Budder’ Haley had nine points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Skyline hosts Sherando tonight in another non-district contest.
“I feel like we were way more in sync than in the (preseason scrimmages),” Schmitz said. “Hopefully it will carry over into (today) and Friday (against Millbrook). I think we can do something this year. We’re working more as a unit. Every day in practice we’re getting better and better.”