STRASBURG — Skyline’s boys basketball team recovered from a slow start and rallied for a 77-63 victory over Page County on Saturday in the Ram Hardwood Classic white bracket semifinals.
Skyline 6-foot-4 sophomore Marlon Jackson had a huge second half to lead the Hawks on Saturday. Jackson scored 24 of his career-high 30 points in the second half. He had 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“I just feel like the momentum was where it needed to be and I was where I needed to be,” Jackson said of the second half. “I felt like I needed to help the team out in the way that I did.”
The Hawks (6-2) trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and were down 40-32 at halftime.
Skyline used an 8-0 run to start the third quarter to tie the game at 40. A basket by Page County’s Ricky Campbell gave the Panthers a 42-40 lead with 4:02 left in the third.
The teams traded the lead over the next couple minutes before Skyline ended the third quarter on an 8-0 run for a 52-45 lead. Skyline senior Jayden Norwood had six points during the run. Skyline outscored Page County 20-5 in the third.
“Defensive-wise we just stepped up and found a whole ‘nother gear,” Skyline coach Harold Chunn said. “We just played. I told them our offense is going to come if we just play good defense, and we played good defense and the offense came. I told them we can’t go to the game, we got to let the game come to us. So that’s what we did.”
In the fourth quarter, Jackson took over and used his size inside the paint to his advantage.
The Panthers (3-5) cut the lead to 57-54 on a 3-pointer by Chase Combs with 5:57 left. The Hawks then went on a 20-6 run with Jackson scoring 14 of their points.
Jackson, who was in foul trouble throughout the first half, also finished the game with 17 rebounds.
Chunn said he wasn’t surprised by Jackson’s dominating performance.
“We have been waiting on it,” Chunn said. “Marlon Jackson stepped up big.”
Page County was led by Trevor Williams with 20 points, Ricky Campbell with 16 and Combs with 13.
Skyline junior point guard Mason Schmitz had 22 points, five steals and five assists and freshman Zackary Diggs had 10 points.
The Hawks, who won the boys tournament title last year, play Stuarts Draft in the white bracket championship game today at 5:30 p.m. Stuarts Draft beat East Hardy, 91-47, in the other white bracket semifinal.
“We’re expecting a lot from (Stuarts Draft),” Jackson said. “We know (a slow start) isn’t going to be good enough against a team like that.”