The Skyline boys basketball team hasn’t found wins easy to come by this season, but improved play of late has given the T-Birds a two-game winning streak following their 41-35 victory at Norwich on Tuesday.
The Skyline boys basketball team hasn’t found wins easy to come by this season, but improved play of late has given the T-Birds a two-game winning streak following their 41-35 victory at Norwich on Tuesday. Making the win even more satisfying was the fact that the Eagles had taken a game from Skyline earlier in the season during the 54 Classic. Neither team was scoring much early. Brandon Abbott and Dustin Weber each made a bucket for Skyline, but when Norwich hit back-to-back 3s late in the frame, they were up 12-4. At the buzzer, though, Kasey Gilpin drained a trey to give the Thunderbirds some momentum. The second quarter was the turning point in the contest, as Skyline outscored the Eagles 11-2. The T-Bird offense all came from the paint as Abbott had 5 points, Brady McComb 4 and Daniel Hacker 2. Skyline has at times this season had trouble getting stops on defense, but not so Tuesday night. “We played well defensively,” observed head coach Steve Little. “We didn’t put them on the free throw line like we had been doing. It’s hard to win when you give up so many free points. We did a lot better Tuesday night.” Skyline took an 18-14 lead to the halftime locker room. After intermission, Norwich regained some offense and cut into the Skyline margin. But Gilpin scored on a nice backdoor cut, Abbott converted on a lob pass from McComb, and McComb got a putback and a freebie to keep Skyline on top 25-24 heading to final period. Q4 was a back and forth, tense affair for most of it. In the final 3 minutes, Abbott made a bucket on the block and Justin Holtz hit both ends of a 1+1. Meanwhile, Norwich was misfiring repeatedly from the free throw line and Skyline found itself up 39-32 with 1:02 left in regulation. Down the stretch, Norwich flung up numerous 3-balls to little effect. In the closing moments, McComb made 2 FT and Norwich cashed a trifecta to get a little closer, but it was not enough. Skyline hung on to claim the 41-35 victory. Coach Little credited senior high-point man Brandon Abbott (13) with having shown good leadership in the win. “He really stepped up for us,” Little said. “Dustin Weber always guards the other team’s best scorer,” Little continued. “He’s not scoring a lot of points, but he’s doing a great job on the defensive end for us.” A final factor in the recent T-Bird surge is improved ball-handling. “Our point guard Colin Little only has 4 turnovers total in the last three games,” Coach Little mentioned. The T-Birds will host Central Christian Friday on Senior Night at the Thunderdome. SHS boys 7 11 7 16 41 Norwich 12 2 10 11 35 Holtz 2, Kasey Gilpin 10, Little 3, Brandon Abbott 13, Weber 2, McComb 9, Hacker 2