By Sam Pierce
OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF
WHITE HALL — Sheridan scored 27 points in the third quarter and nine different players scored as the Yellowjackets defeated White Hall 71-49 Tuesday night in the Bulldogs’ season opener.
Because some early foul trouble forced Sheridan (2-0) to sit its starters for most of the second quarter, the Yellowjackets were able to come out in the second half with fresh legs as they outscored the Bulldogs (0-1) 27-12 in the third period.
“We were able to get our starters in the game together,” Sheridan head coach Joe Scott said. “The first half, we never had a nucleus of all five playing together.
“We sat them in the second quarter and we saved them for the second half. They really came together in the third quarter.”
All five of Sheridan’s starters had two fouls in the first half and junior Jessie Feathers had three, which forced the Yellowjackets to make a few adjustments and rely heavily on their bench.
“That first half we were in a lot of foul trouble,” Scott said. “We were seeing rotations I never played before and kids were playing out of positions.
“… Our depth really showed tonight and we had some guys come off the bench play well. (Senior) Damon Padgett did great off the bench and (senior) Brody Richardson came in and hit some big free throws.”
Richardson was 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the first quarter for his only points of the game.
Heading into halftime, Sheridan led White Hall by nine points but a couple of technical fouls and turnovers helped Sheridan take a 40-21 lead with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
“Our first two possessions we had two turnovers,” White Hall head coach Marc Stringer said of the third quarter. “Their size bothered us. … And it seemed whenever something bad happened, something else bad would happen.”
Feathers grabbed an offensive rebound and put-back for Sheridan’s first bucket of the second half and a technical foul on Stringer sent Sheridan senior Austen Theiss to the free-throw line. He made one of two and the Yellowjackets had a 35-21 lead with 6:18 left in the third quarter.
Sheridan made two of their next four three throws and senior Chris Whitman chipped in with a three-pointer as the Yellowjackets took their 40-21 lead.
“We were able to run the floor really good in third quarter,” Scott said. “They had fresh legs because they sat out the second quarter with foul trouble.”
White Hall didn’t get its first bucket of the second half until Jordan Lawson hit a three-pointer with 4:55 left. It trimmed Sheridan’s lead to 40-24.
“We are capable of hanging with anybody,” Stringer said. “We can beat them. We are a good team.
“There is a lot of stuff we got to work on.”
Jake McNulty led White Hall with 11 points, while Kirk Baugh had eight and Lawson finished with seven.
“I thought Jake McNulty got out there and hustled real well,” Stringer said. “We got to knock down some open shots … if we can do that, we are going to be alright.”
Sheridan jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game as White Hall didn’t get its first bucket from the floor until Lawson hit a three-pointer with 3:38 left in the first quarter. It trimmed Sheridan’s lead to 11-5.
“We just came out real tight,” Stringer said. “Once we finally made one, we relaxed and we played ball.”
Stringer said some of the tightness may have been due to the fact it was White Hall’s first game of the season, but he said a lot of his guys played in the junior varsity game earlier and were fine then.
“Every one of my kids played in the JV game and we played loose and won that one easily,” Stringer said. “Hopefully it will change.”
Sheridan was 16-of-20 from the free throw line in the first half while White Hall was 9-of-10.
“I guess the referees wanted to clean it up a little bit, kind of like the new college hand-check rule,” Scott said. “They are going to make it a clean game and both teams needed to adjust.
“I told my boys after that first timeout, we are just going to have to adjust to the officiating and I thought we did a good job of that.”
Theiss led Sheridan with 20 points while Smith and Feathers chipped in with 10 and eight points, respectively.
Sheridan will host White Hall in a rematch on Tuesday for its next game, while White Hall will host 4A opponent Stuttgart on Monday.