STEPHENS CITY — Sherando girls basketball coach Mike Marsh came in with a different game plan against Central on Wednesday night and it worked out well for the Warriors.
Marsh focused his defense on slowing down Central’s Tycara Scott and Maria Marston. That combined with a strong third quarter from Sherando duo Ashton Clark and Asia James led the Warriors to a 64-42 win over Central in nondistrict action.
Sherando lost 52-48 to Central on Dec. 7 but turned things around in a big way just five days later.
“We just played them last week so I thought we played a lot better,” Clark said. “Our defense was a lot stronger. In the second half, our shots were falling a lot more so that definitely helped.”
The big defensive change that Marsh made was mixing up his defenses throughout the game from zone to man-to-man and at times a combination of both. In each defense the Warriors used, they made sure to double-team Scott, senior, while also focusing on slowing down r Marston, a junior.
In the Warriors’ loss to Central, Scott and Marston combined for 36 points, but they only had a combined 14 on Wednesday night.
“We changed the game plan a little bit and I think it was pretty effective,” Marsh said. “We had a stretch where we got stop after stop after stop and they struggled. And we had chances to score and we created a lot of opportunities for ourselves.”
While Marsh was happy with how his players executed the game plan, Central coach Bryan Scott was unhappy with how his players failed to execute against Sherando’s Clark and James.
“That’s the frustrating thing as a coach,” Marsh said. “The first time we played them we didn’t know who their shooters were until we got involved in the game. But this time we knew coming in and I told them at the beginning of the game we got to know where (James) is and we have to know where (Clark) is. They’re their two shooters.”
Clark finished with a game-high 17 points and five steals, while James added 15 points for Sherando. Nicole Morgan added 7 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Haley Brynes had 7 points and five assists for Sherando.
The Warriors (3-3) built a 17-6 lead after the opening quarter, but the Falcons rallied in the second quarter. Central used a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 21-18 at halftime.
“ I went in at halftime, I said as bad as we shot the ball as bad as we’ve played, we’re still only down three points,” Bryan Scott said. “We came out in the second half and I don’t know we just fell apart. We went from bad to worse.”
Central’s Kendall Herbaugh made a free throw to cut the lead to 21-19, but the Warriors responded with an 18-6 run to take control of the game.
Clark had three 3-pointers during the decisive run and said she had a little extra motivation in the third quarter.
“After halftime coming out, I was a little mad because it was a close game,” Clark said. “And I didn’t want a repeat of last game.”
Sherando led by at least 12 points the rest of the way.
Herbaugh led the Falcons with 11 points and 17 rebounds. Central shot 24.1 percent (14-for-58) from the field. Central also shot just 50 percent (11-for-22) from the free-throw line.
The Falcons (3-4) don’t play again until Dec. 28 in a holiday tournament at Park View High School. Bryan Scott said his team will be working on shooting a lot over the next week.
“Offensively we shot the ball horrible tonight,” he said. “It might have been the worst we shot the ball all season. ...We’ll come back at it (Thursday) and you better believe we’re probably going to get the (shooting) gun out and shoot plenty of shots and shoot plenty of free throws (Thursday).”
The Warriors have a young and inexperienced squad this season and Marsh said he’s been happy with the progress he’s seen from the team so far.
Clark said that the win against Central should give the team confidence moving forward.
“It gives us hope for the upcoming games and the rest of the season if we can improve that much in just a couple of days,” Clark said.