Sherando girls rout Skyline, 73-30

Posted: February 13, 2013

Sherando’s Danielle Rizzari (bottom) and Heidi Brown (right) compete with Skyline’s Jenny Norman for a loose ball during the Warriors’ 73-30 win Tuesday. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Sherando coach Kevin Reed called the Warriors’ offense against Skyline “beautiful” in the Northwestern District girls’ basketball tournament semifinals.

And even Skyline coach Jim Kenney gave the Warriors’ effort glowing compliments after Sherando’s 73-30 rout at Handley’s Maddex-Omps Gymnasium Tuesday night.

Kenney did admit that he would rather not have been on the receiving end of the top-seeded Warriors 28-for-56 (50 percent) shooting effort from the field, but the Hawks coach said it was admirable nonetheless.

“They do it the right way. I love the way they play,” Kenney said of the Warriors. “They move, they pass, they set screens and they share the ball and make good crisp passes. That’s the way I like to see basketball played. As a fan, I love watching them play. I don’t like being on this end of it, but I love watching them play.”

Lauren Reed scored a game-high 18 points, including five 3-pointers, and sophomore Heidi Brown added 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks for Sherando (13-10). Jessica Hakel and Dani Rizzari finished with nine apiece.

The Warriors now advance to face No. 2 Millbrook, a 76-53 winner over third-seeded James Wood in Tuesday night’s other semifinal, in Thursday night’s district tournament championship at 7 p.m. at Maddex-Omps Gymnasium.

Although shooting 50 percent from the field definitely brought a smile to Warriors coach Kevin Reed’s face following the game, the Sherando coach was particularly happy with how well his team shared the ball.

“To me that’s just beautiful basketball — the unselfishness,” Reed said. “Everybody, the spacing on the floor was outstanding with willing passers and everybody was ready to shoot and play. The shooting was excellent, the passing was better and the movement was great.”

The Warriors’ biggest move came in the second quarter where seemingly every Sherando player that pulled up from 3-point range drained the shot.

Sherando held a 14-7 advantage after the opening quarter, but the Warriors connected on five 3-pointers — including four straight to spark a 14-0 run in the second quarter to build a commanding 25-point lead.

After Brown scored on drive to the rim, Reed knocked down her second 3-pointer, and Madison Leckie followed with two more threes. Reed capped the run with her second 3-pointer, pushing the Warriors’ lead to 30-9 midway through the second quarter. Sherando finished 5 of 9 from 3-point range in the second quarter (and made eight 3-pointers in the first half) to build a 42-17 advantage at the break.

“Everyone just came out confident and shooting strong and we just kept knocking them down,” said Lauren Reed, who went 5 for 10 from 3-point range with a team-best six assists and three rebounds. “We’re connecting really well. We see each other at all times, and we’re just playing as one unit.”

The Warriors’ impressive shooting night came from their youthful starting five that includes four sophomores (Brown, Hakel, Rizzari, and Erin Magalis) and freshman Lauren Reed.

While the Warriors’ freshman led the way from the outside, Leckie and Rizzari hit two each and five different Sherando players connected from 3-point range. The Warriors’ 11 threes was one shy of their season-high 12 that came in an 87-29 win over Liberty in the season opener on Nov. 28.

“We had 23 assists,” Kevin Reed said. “But when you shoot the ball that well you’re going to have a lot of assists.”

With a big advantage to work with heading into the third quarter, the Warriors’ reserves got plenty of minutes. Every Sherando player played more than eight minutes, and all 10 players scored. Skyline never cut Sherando’s lead to less than 28 in the second half.

Coming off an emotional 64-49 win over Millbrook in the district tiebreaker game for the top seed in the tournament and an automatic berth in the Region II tournament on Monday, Kevin Reed said his team gave a great effort playing on back-to-back nights.

“We showed no signs of tired legs or any let down from [Monday] night,” Reed said. “The last time we played [Skyline] we didn’t have a very good first half and we wanted to come out strong and set the tone. From a coaching standpoint, it gave us the opportunity to play a lot of players who work hard. For everybody to get in tonight was really nice.”

The victory sends the Warriors into the tournament finals on Thursday night for their fourth meeting of the season with Frederick County-rival Millbrook. Sherando owns a 2-1 record against the Pioneers.

Both teams already own regional berths, but Lauren Reed said a district tournament crown is one of the team’s goals.

“We’re just so excited for the opportunity,” Reed said. “We can’t wait. It’s our time and we’re ready to prove it.”

Skyline’s Shayne Clifton and Jenny Norman led the Hawks (5-19) with seven apiece.

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