FREDERICK — The Skyline boys basketball team missed their first 12 field goal attempts on Tuesday night, finally hitting a shot from the floor nearly three minutes into the second quarter at Frederick.
But for Falcons senior Nate Higgins and his teammates, it was all about making it just as hard for the Warriors to score in this Tri-Valley League matchup.
Points were at a premium, but by holding FHS to 29 percent shooting the Falcons gave themselves a chance to squeak out a win, which they did by a 38-35 count. Skyline was not much better shooting overall but its ability to drive and get to the free throw line made a big difference in the second half.
Higgins scored 15 points — going 7-for-10 at the free throw line in the second half — and Hunter Gutierrez had seven points and 11 rebounds as SHS improved to 8-6 on the season and 2-5 in league play.
"First half we had a hard time shooting but knew if we kept up our defense that we'd be in the game, and that's just kind of how it's been all year," Higgins said after also adding eight rebounds. "These past few games we've been better at not turning the ball over ... we knew we'd hit shots eventually so we just had to stay the course."
Frederick led just 6-2 after the first quarter despite Skyline's bucket woes, and both teams fought for every point in the first half as it was knotted at 11-11 after 16 minutes.
Demitrio Martinez opened the third quarter for Skyline with a couple of 3-pointers, but it was still just 18-14 before Higgins really put it upon himself to get the team going.
His eight points in the final 5:36 of the frame gave Skyline a 26-21 lead, and when Frederick (7-9, 2-5) mounted another small comeback — the Warriors took a brief lead at 29-28 with 5:04 left — Higgins did his part to get to the line.
Gutierrez also had a big basket following a Brayden Blick 3-pointer to give Skyline a 33-29 lead that the visitors never gave up.
Nate Washington finished with 16 points for Frederick to go along with three blocked shots, including one block that came with less than a minute left which put FHS in transition down 33-32. The Warriors, though, turned the ball over twice in the final minute.
"I just knew we needed a spark, and I knew I could beat (the defense) off the bounce and get to the rim," Higgins said. "Once you get started at the basket, those outside shots get going a bit. It opens every thing up."
Kyle Lahr had eight points and seven rebounds for Frederick, which will host Windsor on Friday. Skyline travels to play Holy Family.
Skyline 38, Frederick 35
At Frederick HS
SKYLINE (8-6, 2-5)
Smith 1 2-8 4, Lopez 0 0-0 0, Martinez 2 1-3 7, Blick 2 0-3 5, Higgins 3 9-12 15, Gutierrez 2 3-4 7, Robison 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 15-30 38.
FREDERICK (7-9, 2-5)
Washington 5 6-11 16, Elkins 1 0-2 3, Chohon 2 1-2 6, Campos 0 0-2 0, Dreitz 1 0-0 2, Robinson 0 0-0 0, Rawson 0 0-0 0, Green 0 0-1 0, Lahr 3 0-0 8. Totals 12 7-18 35.
Score by quarters:Skyline 2 9 15 12 — 38
Frederick 6 5 10 14 — 35
3-point field goals — Skyline (3): Martinez 2, Blick; Frederick (4): Elkins, Chohon, Lahr 2.