Girls Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
The Eagles won their 10th game of the year, and fourth straight as they overpowered the Stafford Indians on the road on Tuesday night. Senior Alex Sullivan had a game high 25 points, while Jenna Grey (17 points) and Cameren Downs (14 points) led the Forge attack.
The visitors wasted no time establishing dominance as they jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead after a BULLS-EYE by Grey opened the scoring, and Sullivan and Downs buried jumpers early. The home standing Indians had 5 turnovers in their first 6 possessions. Even with the quick start Eagles coach Lashaun Cook wasn’t impressed with the way her team handled that portion of the game. “We needed to clean up our act, today was reminiscent of the way we looked early in the season,” said the Forge bench boss. “I told the girls, let’s clean this up and get back to Forge basketball”.
The “good gals” led 10-4 and we were under a minute in the first stanza, when Sullivan did her part of the cleaning….she buried a 3 pointer at the top of the key beyond the arc with 19 ticks left and then on the next possession took another “BULLS-EYE” attempt from England Run range to beat the buzzer and give the Eagles a 16-4 lead after one. “Alex has started within the last three games and she has really turned it up”, said Cook. “A 35 point game, and tonight a 25 point game, but also her defense matches her offense.”
In the second the Forge defense was strong early as they held Stafford scoreless for half of the second frame, while building up a 21-4 advantage. The Eagles went thru a mini scoring draught of their own later on in the second as they failed to score for almost 3 minutes of action. The Forge got the train back on the rails as they got some senior leadership to break off the snide. A stop and pop jumper from Sullivan followed by two driving scoop shots by Downs gave the Eagles a 28-13 lead at the break.
The third quarter saw the Alex and Jenna Show fly out of the locker room as the duo kept the nylon on the Forge basket loose burying jumper after long range jumper and the Eagles ripped this one wide open halfway thru the third quarter. Two long range “BULLS-EYES” by Grey were NBN (Nothing But Nylon) and gave the visitors a 40-16 lead with 5:50 left in the quarter. “Jenna means a great deal to us”, said Cook, “There has been one game this season where she just would not shoot the ball. She wants to be known as an all-around player, not just a 3 point shooter and she’s working hard on her defensive game as well”. The Forge outscored the Indians 28-10 in the quarter and 16-7 late to go into “winning time” with a 56-23 lead.
Forge went to their bench in the final stanza and still outscored the Indians 16-8 closing out the game and capturing a 72-31 victory, raising their Commonwealth District record to 3-1, with a home date with Mountain View on Tuesday the 15th. “We know that Coach Sergeant finds ways to get wins”, said Cook in talking about the Wildcats. “We have to prepare for them just like any other team, and that means controlling the tempo and playing Forge basketball”
Tuesday’s match-up will be another Varsity double leader at the Forge with the Girls game starting at 5:30pm, followed by the boy’s game at 7pm.
The Eagles went to Stafford on Tuesday night coming off a bad loss to Massaponax on their home floor. The talk after the game centered on the team’s lack of intensity and effort against the Panthers, and how they were going to focus on bringing the hard work they do in practice to the game floor.
Well, Forge coach Anthony Mills and his staff left the laboratory and the results were positive early as the Forge displayed intensity, pride, enthusiasm and toughness in a 65-57 win over the Indians. It was the first district loss for Stafford and it evened the “good guys” district mark at 2-2.
Outside the visiting locker room prior to the game, Mills had a clear message for his team as they started to take the floor. “Let’s Go to Work”, said the coach as his troops left the locker room. It wasn’t artistic at times, but the Eagles did work to gain an early advantage on the Indians. A sloppy run and gun quarter opened up this one with a lot of turnovers and missed shots as the Eagles outscored their hosts 10-9 in the frame. During the break the attitude of the Forge players was confident and they seemed to have a little bit of a swag to them. Signs like that can mean only good things to a team, especially coming off a questionable outing.
In the second the Eagle intensity picked up even more and the “good guys” got strong perimeter shooting from the man they call “Cheese”, Senior Josh Sarratt and his brother, the one I call “Steak”, Sophomore Elijah. While the elder Sarratt was lighting it up from the outside (21 points), his brother was a pest to the home team getting in their faces on the defensive end, and tying up shooters before they could get shots off. The Forge was on a 18-8 run capped off by a long range Bulls-Eye by the Josh Sarratt giving the Eagles a 28-17 lead with just 35 ticks until the break. The Indians Donovan Arnason drove to the bucket in the last 10 seconds of the half and got the hoop and the harm to send the two teams to the break with the scoreboard reading Colonial Forge 28 Stafford 20.
The start of the second half the Eagles matched Stafford point for point and the home team was clearly getting frustrated. With 5:14 left in the third, the Eagles Mr. Energy, Nick Ellington drove down the left side of the lane, right to the tin and was fouled by the Indians De’Jour Johnson. At the end of the play, Johnson realized he had something to say, and started to chirp. He was hit with a technical foul and as Ellington hit one of two free throws, the Eagles Martin Kawa sank both technical free throws and the Forge took a 34-26 lead.
After a missed shot, the Eagles got the ball back and this time it was Josh Sarratt taking the rock to the rim. The senior took the brunt of a hard foul by the Stafford defender, who also had something to talk over with the Eagles. Whatever was said, the magic words were spoken earning a technical foul call by the official. Sarratt hit one of the two free throws, and Kawa hit one of the two technical free throws and the Forge had a 38-29 lead with 4:22 left in the third.
The Eagles rubbed a little salt in the wound on the next Forge possession as Kawa served up another 3-ball from the right corner and when it went through the twine, the Eagles had a 41-29 lead with 4:10 left.
This is where the home team made its move mostly on the Eagles shaky ball handling and poor free throw shooting. We’d seen the movie before and late in the third, the scene was playing out again. Stafford started to hit shots and the Eagles made it easier for them by turning the ball over. The Forge had an 11 point lead with 1:20 left in the quarter but the Indians scored six points before the horn to include a leaner by Johnson to cut the Eagles lead to just 5 points (45-40) heading into winning time.
Would the Eagles fumble this one away or show the grit and determination that they showed earlier to capture a win and pull their Commonwealth District record to .500 at 2-2. Senior leadership prevailed as Josh Sarratt went down on the Eagles first possession of the fourth quarter, set his feet and buried a 3 point bomb from the top to widen the “good guys” lead to eight at 48-40.
This night when it came to crunch time, the Forge showed the intensity on the defensive end and the tenacity on the offensive end, keeping Stafford at bay and they never got closer than six points from there. The key play of the quarter took place with 4:59 left in the contest as Josh Sarratt went to the rim and got the hoop and the harm expanding the Forge lead to 56-44. The only thing after that play the Eagles should talk about is their free throw shooting. The Forge shot 22 for 41 at the charity stripe for the game. A stat that had head coach Anthony Mills going to the towel on the bench as if to clear his eye lids and make sure got a closer look at the inconsistency at the line. “I know we practice free throws everyday”, said a frustrated Mills post game. “We’re just not going to practice them again…..”
There were less than three minutes remaining in the contest, and the Indians were flying around trying to make one last push. The Indians Colin Coyne hit a jumper with 2:59 left to cut the Forge lead to 58-52, but the Forge would respond getting free throws from Kawa, and Josh Sarratt and then Kawa ripped the heart out of the Indians with a layup and a free throw with 1:25 left that started the buses and gave the Forge the 65-57 win.
The Eagles showed on this night that if they play with the energy and intensity that Mills and his staff want, they can start to pile up the W’s. They will hopefully take this momentum and bottle it as they will now face Kellem High School on Saturday down at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, before coming back home for another double header Tuesday as they host the Mountain View Wildcats. Girls tip at 5:30pm, followed by the boy’s game at 7pm.