Sherando boys rout Colonels
WINCHESTER — Opening up district play is tough enough but doing it shorthanded is never ideal. Especially if that first game on the district calendar is Frederick County rival James Wood, who will run 10 guys at you non-stop all night long and has been known to put up 80-plus shots and 100 points.
That’s the exact situation the Sherando High School boys’ basketball team found itself in Friday night as it traveled to James Wood for the opening of the Northwestern District season. With two regulars out (Gavin Lawrence-Barnett, dislocated shoulder and Chris Smith, sick), the Warriors had but 10 healthy bodies and spent most of the night rotating just eight guys.
However, four of those eight scored in double figures and two others just missed double digits as the Warriors rode a dominating first quarter to an important 92-78 victory over the Colonels to open district play at Wood’s Donald H. Shirley Gymnasium.
“We’ll definitely take the win but hopefully we’ll be a little better defensively next time we play them,” Sherando coach Garland Williams said. “We thought we did a decent job defensively but feel we can do better. We feel like we’re in pretty decent shape but they’ve got a pretty good 10 rotation and they push it. They hit some threes but we’re very fortunate they didn’t hit as many as they’re capable of hitting. I’ve seen them knock down 20.”
James Wood (6-5 overall, 0-1 Northwestern District) couldn’t have started the game any better — at least the first few seconds. The Colonels won the tip and junior Ryland Williams streaked down the floor for an easy layup to start the scoring a mere four seconds into the contest.
Unfortunately for Wood, the remainder of the first quarter wasn’t nearly as good. All evening long the Colonels were getting the shots that they wanted but couldn’t capitalize. In the first quarter alone they missed 20 shots, many from beyond the three-point arc, and committed a handful of turnovers.
Sherando (7-4, 1-0) responded to the quick score by Wood with 11 unanswered points, six coming from senior Aaron Miller who scored a game-high 22 points. By the end of the first quarter, the Warriors had built the lead to 12 points (22-10).
Several times in the second quarter the Colonels were able to chip away at the lead and get it to as close as nine, but the Warriors just kept the pressure on and were able to push their lead back to double figures each time and eventually stretched the lead to as much as 18 (49-31). But Williams was able to knock down a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to trim the lead to 49-34 at the break.
In the first half, six of Wood’s 14 field goals were 3-pointers but they were 0 for 4 from the free-throw line and missed a total of 36 shots.
Wood got a quick 3-pointer from Williams to open up the second half and cut the lead to 12 (49-37), but the Warriors answered with an 11-3 run to push the lead to 20 (60-40) midway through the period and held a 73-50 lead after three.
The Colonels were able to hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and outscore the Warriors 28-19 but were never able to trim the Warriors’ lead below double digits again. For the night, Wood attempted 86 shots, making only 30 and went 4 for 14 from the free-throw line.
“I issued a challenge at the start of the fourth quarter and I was really proud of the way they played the fourth quarter,” Wood coach Al Smith said. “Seems like the past few games we’ve gotten off to slow starts and we just talked about that. Something needs to change to get us ready to play.”
“I thought we had the shots we wanted to get we just didn’t shot that well and the other thing is we missed ten free throws. Even with that with three minutes to play we had a chance to get it down to single digits and I thought we had a chance. We just didn’t quite get it. Sherando’s a good team.”
In addition to Miller, Tanner Ruths chipped in 15 points for the Warriors, and Demontay Harrison and John Harrell scored 12 apiece.
Williams led the Colonels with 22 points, and Nick Foura added 17.
“The district is going to be tough. From what I’ve seen it can go anyway on any given night,” Garland Williams said. “It’s gonna be a good district race here.”