The Skyline and Woodville varsity boys basketball teams were playing for more than rivalry bragging rights Thursday night.
Both teams’ entered their first matchup of the season with undefeated records in the Class 1A Area 14 play, with the winner taking a step forward toward winning the regular-season area crown and hosting next month’s area tournament.
In the end, No. 2-ranked Skyline was the team that took that step.
The No. 2-ranked Vikings closed the first quarter with a 13-0 scoring run and controlled the game the rest of the way for a 59-31 area victory at Woodville High School.
“There were big stakes involved,” said Skyline coach Ronnie McCarver. “They were undefeated in the area too. They came out ready to go. We’ve been playing pretty good basketball, and (Woodville’s) won 11 of 13 (games). Our guys stayed focused and played our kind of style of basketball. We took their best punch right at the beginning and then we got in a groove (and) did what we were supposed to do.”
Skyline (18-3, 5-0) can clinch the area title with either a Woodville loss to Valley Head or a win over Woodville on Jan. 17.
Collin Lockard and Jaxen White shared team-high scoring honors for the Vikings with 17 points while Dylan Bickers netted 11 points and Jaylon Clements added eight.
Da’Vion Johnson scored 11 points and Joseph Benson pitched in eight for Woodville (11-8, 3-1).
With the game tied at 5-all, Skyline scored the final 13 points of the first quarter on three of White’s five 3-pointers and buckets from Lockard and Clements. The Vikings pushed their lead to 34-13 late in the second quarter on Bickers’ two free throws, and Lockard’s three-point play with 8.7 seconds left in the half sent Skyline to intermission with a 41-14 lead. Kordell Talley then opened the second half with a steal and dunk for the Vikings, which led 52-21 after three quarters.
“You’ve got to make outside shots because you’re not going to score on them inside consistently because they’re so long,” said Woodville head coach Bubba Smith. “I thought we played a pretty decent floor game in the first half, we just couldn’t score, we didn’t make any shots. I think we battled, played hard. We just couldn’t score. If we beat Valley Head, it’ll give us a chance to go out (to Skyline) with a chance to tie for the area, so we’ve just got to keep playing like we have been. I like this team, like how we’re playing.”
Woodville 54, Brindlee Mountain 41 — At Woodville, the Panthers pulled away from the Class 3A Lions in the second half to earn the win during a day game on Wednesday.
Woodville led 16-11 after one quarter and 28-26 at halftime before extending its lead to 40-31 after three quarters.
Jackson Peek scored 19 points for the Panthers while Da’Vion Johnson netted 14, Caleb Dolberry added 11 and Christian Frank had seven.
Nickolas Knepper scored 15 points and Caleb Scott added 10 for Brindlee Mountain (5-13).