Sherando girls wear down Washington in 72-57 win

Posted: December 6, 2012

Special to the Winchester Star

Sophomore Dani Rizzari drives in for a layup during Sherando’s 72-57 win over Washington (W.Va.). (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

STEPHENS CITY — Coming off a 58-point win in their opener last week, the Sherando girls’ basketball team got a much-needed challenge from an unexpected source on Wednesday night.

Facing Washington (W.Va.), a team it defeated soundly twice last season, the Warriors found themselves in a game deep in the first half. But just in the nick of time, Sherando closed the second quarter on a 16-2 run and went to the locker room with a double-digit lead.

The Patriots continued to play tough in the second half, but the Warriors — led by freshman Lauren Reed’s 33 points — kept Washington at a safe distance to pick up a 72-57 non-district win.

From the opening tip Washington showed that it had no plans to back down from Sherando. The Patriots played physical on both ends of the floor and made the Warriors work extra hard for shots and for positioning around the glass for rebounds.

“I think the way that our team is built, we’re going to have a hard time with some teams that are extremely physical across the board,” said Sherando coach Kevin Reed. “ .. They beat us off the boards, they outrebounded us. But at the end of the day we were able to make enough plays and we were able to have enough runs to get the lead and maintain it.”

Being able to get second- and third-chance points basically kept Washington in the game. Like Sherando, the Patriots are a young team (Amber Curry and Alycia Lambert are the only seniors that see significant minutes) and their ability to work hard for rebounds (finishing with a plus-10 edge) and putting a body on shooters allowed them to play at Sherando’s tempo.

At least for awhile.

The Warriors (2-0) were down 27-24 with just over three minutes left in the first half when they began to take charge on both ends of the floor. Sherando scored eight straight points, which included a steal and layup from Jessica Hakel and Lauren Reed's steal, layup, and-one.

A layup by Morgan Adams broke the Warriors’ string, but Reed and Magalis each hit two free throws, Magalis hit a jumper, and Audra Sites crashed for a stickback with three seconds left to send Sherando into the locker room with a 40-29 lead.

After playing so well over the first 13 minutes, the Patriots (1-3) got a little too caught up with the running hard from baseline to baseline down the stretch in the first half.

“I think the fouls in the first half hurt us,” said Washington first-season coach Chasity Huff. “They hit 11 free throws [10 in a 22-point second quarter], and that hurt. Obviously, we’ve been pounding [the players] with conditioning, but I think we got tired. And rightfully so, Sherando is a very quick team. We were on our feet most of the night, and we got a step slower on defense.”

To her credit, Lauren Reed, who was guarded a lot better and knocked around by the Patriots at times, kept her poise and kept looking to score. After opening with 18 hard-earned points in the first half, Reed scored 11 in a row for the Warriors in the third period, including a trio of 3-pointers.

As it went, Reed had another game in the 30s, knocking down four 3-pointers, making 12 of 27 shots from the field and five of six free throws. The freshman has 71 points in two games and continues to make impressions.

“I thought we played well — probably the best we’ve played up here in five years,” Huff said. “I don’t think we’re going to see anyone in our area or our conference that can hit 33 points in a night. Reed’s daughter is very good.”

There were others that had their moments for Sherando. Each of the Combs sisters — freshman Allison and junior Alaina — scored buckets in the final seconds of the third period to send Sherando to the fourth with a 59-40 lead.

Magalis also had a big game on the offensive end, scoring nine of her 12 points in the first half and making all four of her shots from the field (4-for-4 shooting).

“I actually felt going into halftime that we were in great shape,” Kevin Reed said. “Being up 40-29, I knew it was going to be hard for [Washington] to put up a lot of points, especially when you look at their first three games where they averaged 45 [points]. I felt confident in the second half with what we were doing. When we opened it up in the third quarter, I felt comfortable with that. I did not like how we played. I wasn’t pleased, overall.”

One big bugaboo the Warriors will need to work on, with games still remaining this week at Jefferson (tonight) and state power Spotswood (Saturday), will be taking better care of the basketball. Sherando forced 30 turnovers in its win, but it gave up the ball 29 times.

“You can’t simulate the physicality across the board and the athleticism [of Washington] in practice, so to come out and face that — we needed that,” Kevin Reed said. “Fundamentally sound, we’re always going to be real sound in that area. But, physically, you could see a lot of [concerns] tonight.”

Washington received a team-best 15 points from Jackie Hess, and Kenya Dozier and Hess each collected 11 rebounds.