The Kenny Brooks era got off to a strong start on its opening weekend with two wins over UNC Asheville and Georgetown and with Presbyterian next, a 3-0 start seemed likely but a road trip to Orlando to face UCF made 4-0 not seem too likely. However, the Hokies have it rolling right now and were able to take care of business once again this past week.
Virginia Tech 67, Presbyterian 36
For the first time in the Kenny Brooks era, the Virginia Tech Hokies led at halftime and never looked back on their way to a 67-36 victory that included Virginia Tech outscoring Presbyterian 22-7 in the fourth quarter. The Hokies did win their first two by double digits, but this was their most dominant performance against any opponent so far this season.
Sidney Cook had a tremendous game in the post with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks in what may be the best individual performance in a particular game so far for the Hokies. Meanwhile, Sami Hill had another strong game with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists with Chanette Hicks having an impressive 6 steals in a strong defensive performance to go with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Regan Magarity was solid in the post with 6 points and 7 rebounds while fellow starter Vanessa Panousis had 9 points and 2 assists including 3 three-pointers that broke Virginia Tech’s career record for most three-pointers. Kenny Brooks’s daughter Kendyl Brooks made her debut and didn’t have an efficient game going 2-for-8 from beyond the arc and ending with 6 points and 2 blocks while Kaela Kinder only had 3 points but the freshman guard also had 7 rebounds.
The big differences came on the glass and in the turnover category with Virginia Tech having 17 offensive rebounds to 6 for Presbyterian while the Hokies also only had 7 turnovers compared to 16 for Presbyterian. The Hokies took care of business in what was simply a show up and get yourself an easy win type of game.
Virginia Tech 67, UCF 64
In what was a tough game on the road in Orlando, the Hokies once again proved that they are a tough team that can win games in the fourth quarter with a 67-64 victory over UCF that included the Hokies outscoring the Knights 21-18 in the fourth quarter. This was the first road game and victory for the Hokies in the Kenny Brooks era and was a quality win before a pre-Thanksgiving trip to Charleston.
Sidney Cook was once again quite productive with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals while going 5-for-5 from the free-throw line after going 0-for-2 from the charity stripe against Presbyterian. Chanette Hicks was also quite good once again with 15 points, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 3 rebounds while freshman Kendyl Brooks came off the bench and was quite efficient in having 11 points while shooting 3-for-6 from beyond the arc in only 14 minutes.
Sami Hill continued to have the best season of her career with 9 points, 3 steals, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists with Vanessa Panousis having 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist. Regan Magarity was held off the score sheet but still made an impact with 5 rebounds while Kaela Kinder only had 2 points but also had 5 rebounds and 1 block.
Shooting made a big difference as the Hokies were 10-for-28 from beyond the arc while UCF went only 3-for-11 with both teams making 25 shots in this game and the Hokies making all 7 of their free throws with UCF going 11-for-17 from the charity stripe. Virginia Tech and UCF both had 17 turnovers while UCF outrebounded VT 43-39 including a 17-14 margin on the offensive glass.
1. Kenny Brooks’s team can win close games: Already, the Hokies have proven that they can win games that come down to the fourth quarter with the Hokies winning a close game on the road in Orlando after entering the fourth quarter tied with UCF while also outscoring Georgetown 22-10 in the fourth quarter to get a 73-63 win. The fact that the Hokies already have the toughness to win close games in the fourth quarter against quality opposition is a great sign of the culture that Brooks has installed in this program within months.
2. Virginia Tech bolsters its depth: One concern we had last week was the fact that Virginia Tech only played 7 players in their first two games, but that changed against Presbyterian with three new players playing including Kendyl Brooks playing in both and scoring 17 points in limited minutes in those two games. Depth is still a concern especially in the frontcourt, but the Hokies have a solid group of backup guards in Brooks, Kaela Kinder, and Genesis Parker that could step in if injuries came to the starting backcourt.
3. Sidney Cook is the Hokies’ top frontcourt player for now: Sidney Cook was impressive over these two games and now leads the Hokies in rebounds with 7.3 per game while also being second on the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game so far. Cook has been more consistent as a scorer over the first four games, but the Hokies have two quality frontcourt players in Cook and Regan Magarity that could make a big impact on this season. However, Virginia Tech needs to find some frontcourt depth especially after Magarity dealt with injuries last year.
Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail via Facebook and Twitter plus subscribe for our email updates.