BRIDGEWATER – The Knights moved into an effective trapping defense with full-court pressure in the third quarter.
And their hot shooting only got hotter.
Senior guard Shane Brown netted 24 points, and James Sullivan added 15 as Turner Ashby High School handled Harrisonburg 55-41 Friday night in a Valley District boys’ basketball game with a 46.7 percent shooting performance.
“I wanted to make them defend in the half-court and see what we can do against it because they run the flex so well,” TA coach Chad Seibert said. “In the second half, we went ahead and put the full press on on makes and on misses we went back into the 2-3 zone.”
Although only five Knights scored, all five contributed during a defining third quarter.
TA (9-2) outscored HHS 19-6 in the period to take a 47-32 lead into the fourth quarter. Brown elevated for one of his five 3-pointers to start the run, and Brenan Hanifee had a pair of putbacks to fuel it further.
Hanifee, who had seven points, grabbed three of TA’s seven offensive rebounds. He tied Sullivan and Brandon Lambert with a team-high four rebounds overall.
“Brenan had a nice game, a really nice game,” Seibert said. “He’s playing extremely hard and doing a lot of stuff that doesn’t show up in the box score. But if he’s not in there, it’s a gaping hole.”
In a flowing game with only 19 fouls and seven in the first half, TA’s shooters thrived. And the Knights committed only five turnovers.
“It was real clean,” Brown said. “We were patient at times. I know sometimes we were a little out of control, but you’re going to have that in every game.”
Junior forward Chris Whitelow tallied nine points and seven rebounds to lead the Blue Streaks (3-9), who shot 40 percent (16-of-40) in a more patient attack. But in the third quarter, everything was working for the Knights.
The long ball was falling. The transition game came alive. Passers were finding open shooters, and TA cashed in on some backbreaking, second-chance opportunities to extend a 28-26 halftime lead.
“I thought when they went to the trap in the third quarter we didn’t handle it very well,” HHS coach Scott Joyner said. “That’s when we started losing momentum. We were doing a pretty good job at half-court execution. We just picked up our dribble and nobody wanted the basketball. I don’t know what happened coming out. In the third quarter, we just weren’t ready, and it’s my job to get them ready.”
Brown connected on a deep 3-pointer with 3:37 to go to put the Knights ahead 41-30. With HHS unable to score on a couple of possessions, Brown scored a basket after a pair of TA offensive rebounds to push the Knights’ lead to 13 points.
“That’s probably what won us the game, to be honest,” Brown said of the extra chances.
TA led by as many as 19 before Harrisonburg mounted a late comeback.
Senior guard Andrew Zingg, who was held to five points with Sullivan as his primary marker, scored his only points of the second half on a jumper with 6:14 to go. Ryan Phillips added a bucket inside, Isaiah Parker hit a 3-pointer and Ryan Kiser made it four consecutive field goals for HHS with a circus layup behind his head to cut the deficit to 51-41.
But the 9-0 run was too little too late.
“We were just watching tonight,” said Joyner, who considered shaking up the starting lineup for the first time this season but stuck with Jalen Williams, Phillips, Whiltelow, T.J. Kirkland and Zingg. “Not quite playing like a team yet, but we’re getting there.”
Williams 2 2-2 8, Phillips 3 0-0 6, Whitelow 4 1-2 9, Kirkland 1 0-0 2, Zingg 2 0-0 5, Shifflett 2 1-1 6, Kiser 1 0-0 2, Parker 1 0-0 3. Totals: 16 4-5 41.
Hanifee 3 0-2 7, Corbin 2 0-0 4, Sullivan 6 2-3 15, Brown 9 1-1 24, Lambert 1 2-2 5. Totals: 21 5-8 55.
Harrisonburg 13 13 6 9 – 41
Turner Ashby 16 12 19 8 – 55
3-Pointers—HHS 5 (Williams 2, Zingg, Shifflett, Parker); TA 8 (Brown 5, Hanifee, Sullivan, Lambert). Fouls—HHS 13; TA 6. Fouled Out—None, Rebounds—HHS 28 (Whitelow 7); TA (3 with 4).