The Herndon boys basketball team took longer than usual to heat up against Westfield last Friday. But by the end of the Concorde District contest, the Hornets had another blowout victory under their belts.
Outscoring the Bulldogs 48-19 in the second half, including 25-2 in the fourth quarter, Herndon picked up its 11th win on the season with a 77-42 victory.
Herndon coach Gary Hall, whose team improved its district-leading record to 5-0, said his team rebounded from a poor first-half performance to make a close game a runaway victory.
"It was the closest 30-point game I think I've ever been in," Hall said. "The final score was kind of deceiving."
THE HORNETS WERE led by senior guard Ricky Lucas, who scored 16 of his game-high 26 points in the first half.
With sharp-shooting guards Jordan Short and Brad Farrell in foul trouble in the first half, combining for just five points, Lucas became the focal point of Herndon's scoring attack.
With Herndon leading 15-9 after eight minutes, Lucas scored 10 straight points for his team in the second quarter, helping the Hornets gain a 29-23 advantage at the break.
But had it not been for some easy missed baskets on the part of Westfield, Hall's crew could have found themselves trailing at the break.
"I thought for the first time this season, the other team was playing better basketball than us," said Hall about the first half. "We kept getting the ball to Ricky and he was able to score because of his talent. But that's not the way you like to play."
Herndon freshman guard Scott Reynolds said Hall to the team at halftime to increase their intensity, especially on the defensive end.
"He told us to pick it up," said Reynolds, who had nine points from his point guard position. "It all starts with defense."
It took about a quarter for the message to sink fully sink in. Pushing their lead to 52-40 after three quarters, the Hornets gave up the first basket in the fourth quarter to Westfield junior Sean Glennon.
FROM THAT POINT on, Herndon held the Bulldogs scoreless.
Besides being blanked from the field, Westfield missed the front end of three one-and-one situations from the foul line, and Kevin Storus misses two free throws after being fouled with 2.1 seconds left.
It's as if the basket just kept getting smaller and smaller for the Bulldogs.
"It's a bad situation that just got worse," said Westfield basketball coach Bob McKeag. "It's not easy to take. We just have to move on."
Missing in action for most of the first half, Short rebounded to score 16 points in the second half to give him 19 for the game. Farrell added 13.
"The kids have responded to various situations we've been in this year," Hall said. "They did a good job coming out of halftime and executing."