By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Momentum can come and go quickly in basketball. Central found that out the hard way Saturday night.
The Falcons had worked hard to get back into the game late in the first half, only to allow Luray to go on a run of its own to end the half.
The Bulldogs didn't look back as they cruised to a 57-40 non-district boys basketball victory over the Falcons.
"In the first half I thought we played pretty good," Central coach Mickey Clinedinst said. "Then towards the end [of the half] we let them score a few times right before halftime. And that was the turning point of the game."
Luray (7-0) started out strong against Central, building a 12-2 lead. Luray's Jacob Griffith had five points during the run, which was aided by six Central turnovers.
The Falcons (1-7, 0-2 Bull Run) closed the first quarter with a 3-pointer by Ryan Rodriguez to cut the lead to seven after the first eight minutes.
Luray was able to get to the free-throw line and scored inside to help build a 20-11 lead with 2:22 left in the first half.
The Falcons responded with two free throws and a 3-pointer by Ricky Neff to cut the lead to 20-16 with 1:26 remaining in the first half.
The Bulldogs turned the momentum completely around with a 6-0 run to close out the half, including a 3-pointer by Griffith with just three seconds left in the half.
"I thought we had a little trouble holding onto the ball at times," Luray coach Jim Sanders said. "I thought we had some opportunities to score in the first half and we threw some passes away. I thought we played better in the second half."
The Falcons had trouble getting any kind of momentum in the second half as Luray used a 5-2 run to take a 31-18 lead with 5:51 left in the third quarter.
A basket by Neff and two from Kolton Poston cut the lead to 31-24, but that was as close as the Falcons would get the rest of the way.
Luray again closed the quarter out strong, using a 14-3 run to take an 18-point lead into the final quarter.
Central played without starting point guard Sean Semones for the second game in a row due to a thumb injury. Clinedinst said he probably will be out for the next two weeks.
Griffith led the way for Bulldogs with 22 points, while Monty Dickson added 10.
The Bulldogs lost a lot from last year's team, which lost in the Group A state semifinals. Sanders said he's very pleased with the way his team has started the season.
"I think any coach would be happy to start 7-0," Sanders said. "There's no way I thought we would be undefeated at this point in the season, with basically a whole new starting lineup. I think a lot of the guys that we have back from last year learned a lot from last year's team."
Travis Cooper had 13 points for the Falcons, while Neff added nine.
While the Bulldogs have started off strong this season, things have been the opposite for the Falcons. Central played well in a 72-62 loss to Madison County, but couldn't keep the momentum going against Luray.
"We got beat by a better team tonight. They're a good team, with good depth," Clinedinst said. "We're just not where we want to be at right now.
"We're not playing together. We're trying to do too much individually, and we're not playing together as a group."