Sherando boys smash Skyline 77-47
Posted: January 12, 2013
Special to The Winchester Star
FRONT ROYAL — The pregame clock had already ticked off five minutes of warmup time and the Sherando boys’ basketball team had yet to make an appearance. Meanwhile, Skyline was going through some crisp drills and seemed pumped by the music playing from the press box.
Sherando did finally arrive and judging on how they opened Friday night’s Northwestern District game with Skyline, not much warmup time was needed.
The Warriors sprinted out to a 13-point lead a little more than four minutes in, led by 21 at the half, and coasted to a 77-47 thrashing of the Hawks.
Sherando (9-4, 3-0 Northwestern) did all the little things well again, which has been key during a now seven-game winning streak. The Warriors shot an amazing 60 percent (9 of 15) from 3-point range and 53.4 percent (31 of 58) overall from the field.
Lots of balanced scoring made sure everyone got in the act (which they did, with all 11 dressed out scoring). Tanner Ruths kept up his hot shooting from outside (five made 3-pointers) and topped the attack with 17 points. Aaron Miller added 15 points, Isaiah Williams 11, and John Harrell and Demontay Harrison 10 apiece. All but Williams are seniors.
Before the Warriors collected their belongings and headed back to Stephens City, Sherando coach Garland Williams told his players just how pleased he was with how they played against a team that had been 6-0 at home heading into the game.
“Coach told us that this was our most sound game of the season so far and that we did a good job of executing our offense,” Miller said. “I definitely think it was our best game of the season — as far as running the offense.”
For any team that has aspirations of winning a district title, it is imperative to get balance across the board and take what the other team gives you. That’s exactly how the Warriors approached things early, finding an explosive touch from the wings that carried throughout their lopsided win.
An early 2-2 tie soon went by the wayside with Sherando scoring 13 straight points to have a comfortable lead less than five minutes after the opening tip.
Skyline coach Jacob Bates had decided to put top defensive stopper Dayvon Haight on Sherando’s speedy and capable-scoring senior guard Taylor Loudan to limit his looks at the basket. That part of the plan worked, as Loudan did not score in the first half and finished the game with just four points.
But whenever the ball found other teammates’ hands, good things happened for Sherando.
“We did a lot of things that we wanted to do, and felt that we were able to do with a lot of guys throughout the game, on the offensive and defensive end,” Garland Williams said. “We know [Skyline] has a strong team, and not to take anything away from our guys, because we thought they played pretty well, but we know Skyline’s better [than what it showed] and everybody has their [good] nights. And, maybe this was just one of those nights for us. We hope we can keep those [kinds] of nights. That’s the main thing.”
The first-period run started with Miller getting his second early basket off a fadeaway jumper, putting Sherando ahead for good. Ruths then hit his first 3, Harrison got an easy layup off Ruth’s dribble drive, Harrell hit a 3, then Ruths bombed in another long shot. The lead was at 15-2, with 3:26 left, and Bates wanted a timeout.
The rout was on. Sherando led 17-8 after one period and another big run — this one 11-0 in the second period to get the lead out to 24 — displayed just how fluid and focused the Warriors were.
By halftime, the lead was 39-18 and seven Warriors already were in the scoring column. Miller pumped in 11 points in the first half, Harrison had eight to go with seven of his game-high nine rebounds, and Ruths and Harrell each had six (all coming off 3-pointers).
Since winning the NBC29/Daily Progress tournament over the holidays to get their successful string in motion, the Warriors have enjoyed lots of chemistry.
For a brief time in the third period Skyline got on a good run, cutting a 22-point deficit down to 11 when senior guard Kylmen Breeden (game-high 22 points) did most of the damage. But a 20-5 run that spanned the third and fourth periods by Sherando put away any hopes of a Skyline comeback from there.
“I wouldn’t say we put it away [in the first half] because all district games are going to be tough like that,” Ruths said. “But we played a sound team game, we swung the ball, we ran our offense, and we played pretty good defense. So that’s always good, if you want to get a win.”
The second-half run was impressive for the many ways the Warriors found means to score. Loudan was finally in the scorebook with his drive at the 2:27 mark of the third period, setting Sherando off on one of its quick-strike spurts that have been so common in recent weeks.
Then in the fourth, the Warriors put up their biggest total of the night, getting 25 points in the period to assure another double-digit win against a Northwestern foe. Ruths added his final eight points (including 3-pointers four and five), Harrell and Miller each scored off strong moves, and Loudan went hard to the basket again, with his two-pointer making it 66-40 with 3:34 left.
Williams also came alive late, getting five points (including a 3-pointer) to place him as the fifth Warrior in double-digits. And once junior Dilan Heskett became the 11th Sherando player to score. The Warriors really could feel good about a ‘team’ win.
“It’s fun to play that way, when everyone is getting involved,” Ruths said. “Then when you put more points on the board, everyone is more comfortable on defense. You try to be more of a team, and together.”
The week turned out to be a tough one for the Hawks (11-3, 0-2), who were coming off a 25-point loss at Handley on Tuesday. Skyline shot just 36 percent from the field in Friday’s loss and had just one other player (Hunter Stewart, with seven points) score over four points.
Afterward, Bates seemed more concerned with how his defense did not defend shooters very well in another lopsided district loss.
“To be honest with you, it’s a little bit of everything [we need to improve on] — we got beat on the glass, guys going full speed, picking up shooters, playing intelligent and understand who we are defending,” Bates said. “But, the last eight quarters have been against some pretty tough teams.
“You want to win every game. Any time you lose, it’s a sour taste in your mouth. I think we’re disappointed because we know we can play better basketball. More than a loss, we know it shouldn’t be a 30-point loss.”
The Warriors, on the other hand, will try to gauge just how far they have come when they host Handley (11-2, 2-0) on Tuesday in a crucial district game.
“Hopefully, we’ll have something for Handley and take care of home-court advantage,” Miller said. “We’re definitely looking forward to the Handley game. We lost to them three times last season. We don’t want to go 0-3 against them this time.”