The Skyline girls breezed passed Stafford Tuesday night at their place 44-13. The expected tight showdown between the T-Bird boys and Stafford never materialized, however, and the Trojans closed out Skyline rather handily 86-61.
The girls game was basically over at the end of the first period, a 22-2 blitz by the Lady T-Birds pretty well dashing any hopes the Lady Trojans might have entertained. Skyline had previously drilled Stafford in the season’s second game and this time the outcome was no different.
In the opening frame, the Thunderbirds employed an aggressive trapping defense and were able to convert numerous transition baskets. Their offense was also clicking against Stafford’s zone defense in the half-court, sharpshooter Kaitlyn Stark nailing 12 of her game high 16 points in the frame.
In the second quarter, Skyline took off the press and played deliberately on offense with Stafford remaining in their zone. The Trojans fell even further behind in Q2 largely because they were colder than a glacier from the field. On one remarkable yet not altogether atypical possession, the Staffords managed to take 7 shots at the bucket from short range, and come away with nothing. It was 29-4 at halftime.
Alyssa Swonger hit a couple of buckets in the 3rd quarter to pace a balanced Skyline scoring attack. 41-9 Skyline.
Reserves manned the floor for Skyline in the running Q4, holding their own and hanging on for the 44-13 victory. Now 7-6, the Lady Thunderbirds travel to Burrton Friday for another HOPL match-up.
SKYLINE 22 7 12 3 44
STAFFRD 2 2 5 4 13
Davis 2-0-1/2-5; Flowers 1-0-0-2; Swonger 3-0-1/2-7; Richardson 2-0-0-4; Stark 3-2-4/5-16; Fisher 1-2-0-8; Tobin 1-0-0-2
In the boys game, each side had prevailed once in their previous meetings—Stafford early in the season, then Skyline in the more recent 54 Classic. Many were expecting to see a tight ballgame in what would be the rubber match of the series. It never happened.
Although Skyline jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, Stafford then went on a dominating 24-5 run over the rest of the stanza to open a 24-11 advantage after one period. Taking a page out of the Skyline playbook, the Trojans used pressure defense to force the T-Birds into numerous turnovers. Coupling that with hot shooting especially from behind the arc, Stafford was able to forge a big Q1 lead that they would never relinquish.
Trailing 40-24 after intermission, the T-Birds hoped to go on a run to get themselves back into the contest. A Skyline defensive lapse on Stafford’s first possession and turnovers on their own first two possessions meant that the T-Birds lost even more ground right out of the second half starting gate and that was effectively the ballgame.
Page 2 of 2 - The score at that point was 47-24 Stafford and the differential would remain pretty constant for the balance of the contest. The Skyliners attempted to make runs, but their efforts would be short-circuited by their own offensive or defensive miscues down the stretch. The final tally was 86-61 Stafford.
Brandon Abbott had a nice game in a losing effort, accounting for 23 of the T-Bird points. Currently 1- 12, the Thunderbirds continue the campaign Friday at Burrton in an HOPL contest.
SKYLINE 11 13 14 23 61
STAFFRD 24 16 22 24 86
Gilpin 1-1-2/3-7; Little 0-2-0-6; Patterson 0-1-4/4-7; Hogan 0-0-2/2-2; Brandon Abbott 11-0-2/2-23; Weber 3-0-0/1-6; Holz 0-0-1/1-1; Lee 1-0-1/1-3; McComb 1-0-4/6-6