Maroons execute past Panthers
Twin Valley (43) Vs. George Wythe (72)
Feb 23, 2016
for the Daily Telegraph
MAX MEADOWS, Va. — More often than not basketball comes down to simple execution.
And Tuesday night George Wythe executed and it deftly prevented Twin Valley from doing the same.
The Maroons overcame a slow start and pulled away to a 72-43 win over the Panthers in first round play in Region 1A West.
The Maroons clinched a state quarterfinal berth and also advances to the 2A West semifinals Friday at Virginia High.
Malik Johnson scored 19 points to lead four double figure scorers for George Wythe, which got a huge spark off the bench early from Nash Russell.
He hit his first four shots from the field, two of them 3-pointers, as the Maroons (23-2) went on an 11-2 run late in the first half to take a double-digit lead for good, 29-17.
“He’s really been playing well for us,” George Wythe coach Pat Burns said. “He’s been playing well, probably the last half of the season.
"I have no qualms about putting him in to guard anybody and he has the green light to shoot.”
Russell was 5-for-6 from the field overall and finished with 12 points.
‘That’s what he’s on the team for, to knock down shots and play great defense,” said Johnson, who sprained an ankle early, but came back to score 14 of his 19 points in the second half.
Russell and Noah Atwood (14 points) sparked the halfcourt offense and the Maroons got things going on both ends of the floor the rest of the way, especially in transition.
Things just started to click as George Wythe opened up a 46-21 lead with a 14-3 run at the start of the third quarter. The Maroons had three players with three or more assists, led by Johnson with four.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to work toward and we’ve been practicing it and I’m glad we could execute it against a great team like that,” Johnson added. “We just executed well.”
The Panthers (16-11) had trouble running their offense and making shots when they did get open looks. Tayten Sykes scored a game-high 20 points and Tanner Wagner added nine.
“They got hot,” said Twin Valley coach Matthew Baldwin. “We started out in that diamond-and-one and tried to take Johnson out of the game a little bit.
“We were successful at that in the first half, but they had some other guys who stepped up and made some shots. Then when we got down a little bit we kind of got out of our comfort zone a little bit.”
Chase Rosenbaum added 12 points and eight rebounds for George Wythe, which beat Twin Valley to rebounds and loose balls all night.
Robert Watson came up with five steals to lead a swarming and opportunistic Maroons defense.
“He got in foul trouble early, but (Watson) played well in the second half,” added Burns, who was extremely happy with his defense. “The Sykes kid got 40 the other night and the whole team got 43 tonight.
“We’re a pretty good defensive team. We like to lock people down and when we do that we can get in our transition game and get out and go.”
The highlight play of the night came when Johnson got a steal near mid-court, nearly lost it out of bounds and fired a behind-the-back perfect lead pass to the streaking Atwood for a layup.
“That was an accident,” said Johnson with a grin. "I guess it was just
a coincidence.”
•The season also ended for the Twin Valley girls, dropping a 74-66 decision at Fort Chiswell in a Region 1A West quarterfinal game.

at Wytheville
Sykes 7 4-5 20, Wagner 4 0-0 9, McClanahan 1 0-0 3, Shortridge 2 1-3 6, Mullins 1 0-2 2, Payne 0 0-1 0, Cooper 0 0-0 0, Owens 0 0-0 0, Blankenship 1 0-0 3, Webb 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-11 43.
Russell 5 0-12, Martin 0 0-0 0, Dillon 0 2-2 2, Atwood 6 0-0 14, Reeves 1 0-0 2, Johnson 8 3-4 19, Watson 2 0-0 4, Harber 2 0-0 4, Rosenbaum 4 3-5 12, Hanley 0 1-2 1, Thompson 1 0-0 2. Totals 29 9-13 72.
Twin Valley................13 5 11 14 -- 43
George Wythe...........14 18 21 19 -- 72
3-point goals-TV 6 (Sykes 2, Shortridge, McClanahan, Wagner, Blankenship), GW 5 (Russell 2, Atwood 2, Robenbaum). Total fouls-TV 15, GW 11. Fouled out-none. Technicals-none.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Twin Valley 13 5 11 14 0 43
George Wythe 14 18 21 19 0 72
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