By Jerry Holsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
BERRYVILLE - After a disappointing loss to Central in its season opener, Clarke County bounced back strong on Monday, demolishing Warren County 70-34 in the Eagles' home opener.
Clarke County committed 40 turnovers in its 64-42 loss to the Falcons, and that was all the motivation it needed to put on a hard, successful performance on both ends of the court against the Wildcats.
"Friday we had a real ugly loss, and that was hard on us all weekend," Eagles coach Brent Emmart said. "We knew that we had to get our turnovers down, and we only had 12 heading into the final stretch. I'm real happy with that."
Clarke County hounded Warren County for the entire first quarter, and it paid off in a big way. The Wildcats managed just eight field goal attempts and managed to connect on only one, a short jumper by John Turner with 1:22 left in the quarter.
The Wildcats also had difficulty getting the ball into position to make a good shot, turning the ball over 12 times in the first quarter.
"Our focus tonight was on defense," Clarke County guard Jeremy Rhoads said. "We had guys playing hard for rebounds and taking charges. It was totally different than last Friday. Good defense will bring good things on the offensive end, and that's what happened tonight."
While Warren County was floundering, Clarke County nailed nine of its 15 field goal attempts in the opening period, and was 3-for-3 from the line. The result was a dominating 22-3 lead heading into the second quarter.
"From the start they whipped us in every phase of the game," Wildcats coach Vernon Mathews said. "The played tough both offensively and defensively."
Although Warren County was able to connect on some buckets in the second period, it hardly slowed down the Eagles. The Wildcats hit four of their 17 attempts from the field, but Clarke County was still able to extend its lead by 18 points, 40-14, by halftime.
"This was a really fun game to play in," Rhoads said. "I thought we really came to play tonight. We wanted to have a good start and put our loss to Central behind us."
Rhoads was a key to the Eagles' success, leading all scorers for the night with 19 points, including a 5-for-7 performance at the free-throw line.
The only negative in the game for Clarke County was fouls. The Eagles committed 10 team fouls in the third quarter alone.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Warren County wasn't able to take advantage of the Eagles foul problems. The Wildcats only connected on 13 of its 26 free throw attempts.
With Clarke County leading comfortably 54-24 heading into the final eight minutes of play, Emmart cleared the bench and the Eagles coasted to the win.
"There's not much you can say about this game," Mathews said. "Clarke County really came to play tonight. After our first win last week, I thought that maybe we had arrived. But we have a lot of work to do before I can say that."
Besides Rhoads, Sam Shiley scored in double figures with 16 points. The Clarke County senior was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line for the night. Ethan Emmart contributed eight points toward the Eagles' win and Grant Shaw added five.
Warren County's top scorer was Jon Roof who finished the night with 12 points, seven of them coming in the second half.