Sherando boys rout Woodgrove, 73-39

Posted: February 19, 2014

Special to The Winchester Star

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando senior center Jeremiah Curtis couldn’t have hoped for a better start. After all, scoring the first 17 points in a game, like the Warriors’ boys’ basketball team did against Woodgrove during Tuesday night’s Conference 21 quarterfinal, pretty much assured a win.

Using its size well and running the floor to spot the open man even better, Sherando had a double-digit lead less than four minutes into the game and kept building throughout in a 73-39 romp past Woodgrove.

“We started out strong — we wanted to come out and make a statement from the beginning,” said Curtis, who had full control of his 6-foot-7 frame to go over and around the Wolverines for 16 points and six rebounds. “We [had] the scouting report, we knew we were bigger than them, and we wanted to take advantage of our size. We really wanted to dominate them at the beginning of the game.”

Even with 6-foot-7 sophomore Grant Golden facing a box-and-one from the start, the Warriors (8-12) didn’t waver. A layup from Curtis opened the scoring at the 7:24 mark, and sophomore guard Azjier Outler (11 points, five assists) buried a 3-pointer for a 5-0 lead.

As Woodgrove (9-14) continued to miss from everywhere (0-for-11 start), the inside presence of Curtis (six first-period points) and the multiple ways Outler (seven in the first) found to score lifted Sherando to a 15-0 lead. Golden took his first shot with under a minute left, and it fell to make it 17-0 with 39 seconds left.

The Wolverines saved themselves from getting shut out in the period when Matt Gilson ended the scoring futility with his jumper with only 28 seconds left. But, even by then, things looked hopeless for Woodgrove.

The Wolverines made just four field goals in the first half and shot 13 percent from the field. Woodgrove, which began 0-for-16 from deep before hitting a pair behind the arc in the fourth period, had trouble scoring the entire way. The Wolverines finished shooting 25 percent (16 of 64) in one of their more lopsided losses of the season.

“You’ve got to give [Sherando] all the credit,” Woodgrove coach Steve Douglas said. “They have size, they move the ball well, they run the floor well. They have the inside-outside game. They can hit 3s or dump down and score close to the bucket. They were 30 points better than we were. That’s [how] it was.

“We didn’t make shots. On top of that, if you’re playing against a team that is that good, and you can’t make shots, it just compounds the problem. It’s pretty cut-and-dried.”

Even with Golden taking just three shots (and he made all three) in the first half, the Warriors did pretty much what they wanted offensively. Golden, Curtis, and Outler all had eight points by the half and the Warriors could start thinking about Thursday’s semifinal matchup at Dominion (7 p.m.) with a 37-11 lead at the break.

As it was, Golden ended up with game-high totals of 17 points and 13 rebounds, but the Warriors still had plenty of contributions. Eight players scored and 22 of Sherando’s 26 made baskets (85 percent) came of an assist.

“That was very important for us to get other people to contribute [with Golden facing a box-and-one],” Sherando coach Garland Williams said. “We had to adjust some things, but if we can get balanced scoring from everyone else [we’re good]. Grant can get his 14 or 15 [points], Jeremiah can get his 14 or 15, Isaiah [Williams, who scored nine in the win], can get 11 or 12, and A.J. [Outler] can get what he can get.”

That ability to share was never more evident than the first quarter, when Golden drew all the attention away from everyone else on his team.

Even in the second half, Sherando did not skip a beat. The Warriors outscored the Wolverines 19-10 in the third period and their lead reached as high as 43 before Williams pulled his starters and Woodgrove picked up its scoring in garbage time.

“That’s beautiful to see,” Curtis said. “Everybody — from the first man up to one of last men up — we all play as a team. And the fact that everyone can contribute and can help, that’s what was needed tonight.”

A tough out-of-conference slate left the Warriors finishing five games under .500 in the regular season, but everyone from coaches to players know that they need to be ready to perform night after night from now on. A win against Dominion would clinch a berth in next week’s 4A North Region playoffs.

“I think this was a good game where we were able to put things together,” Garland Williams said. “We want to take this one and make it a snowball effect [to keep winning]. We know Dominion’s going to be tough. We’ll see what happens.”

Woodgrove was led by junior forward Davie Wick’s seven points.