By Brian Eller - firstname.lastname@example.org
BERRYVILLE - Preparing to play the first of back-to-back games Tuesday night, Clarke County's approach on the court was simple. According to coach Brent Emmart, he wanted to see his team do two things -- share the basketball and create turnovers.
And after watching the Eagles on Tuesday it was clear the players took their coaches' words to heart, as Clarke County pounded Stonewall Jackson, 81-25. Thirteen of the 14 Eagles on the roster had a field goal while the defense forced 33 turnovers in the win.
"Because we've got a game tomorrow night, we wanted to come out and try to get everybody an opportunity to get some experience on the court," Emmart said. "We wanted to press them and create as many opportunities as we could and try to create turnovers with our defense and it was effective. Everybody played very unselfish. We had a lot of assists and I was happy tonight. No complaints."
Few coaches would feel the need to complain with a team that dominated as much as the Eagles did. At the end of the first quarter, Clarke County led, 23-8, while the defense allowed the Generals just six shots from the floor. Nine of Stonewall's 33 turnovers came in the first quarter, which allowed Emmart to substitute some of his bench players early in the game.
But while nearly everyone in a Clarke County uniform scored a basket, it was the team's two sophomores that led the charge for the Eagles. Sophomore starter Ethan Emmart led all scorers with 17 points, including six points from behind the arc, while fellow sophomore Alex Sefton added 15 points of his own off the bench.
"We have a lot of guys that can play, and it's hard for guys to get court time sometimes," Brent Emmart said. "Tonight was a night for everyone to get court time. I was happy with the distribution of the basketball. Nobody was looking to get 'theirs.' Everybody was trying to look for each other and we got a lot of good looks because of it."
Holding a convincing 49-14 lead at halftime, the Eagles turned their attention to their aggressive defense, which continued to force turnovers in the second half and limit shot opportunities for the Generals. No Stonewall player made more than two field goals, and only senior Dylan Dawson made more than one basket.
"We definitely hang our hat on our defense," Ethan Emmart said. "We try to get after people and play a tough, man-to-man defense. ... We played well. It was a good team win and we were able to get everyone some minutes."
With the defensive game in hand, Brent Emmart used the final minutes of the fourth quarter to tighten up the offense, and work on executing designed plays to help them later during the season.
"Well I told them that if we had the opportunity to make a basketball play in a 3-on-3 or a 4-on-3 to make the play," he said, "But our whole goal was to try to come down, execute our offense and try to get the ball inside-out. We have a lot of options when the ball goes inside to out. Inside the post, when that's first we're a lot better team."