By Dennis Atwood - email@example.com
QUICKSBURG -- With both teams seeking their first win of the season, the Central Falcons crushed the Stonewall Jackson Generals, 84-38, in a non-district boys basketball contest between Shenandoah County rivals Friday night.
The Falcons found success in all aspects of the game, making layups on 23 of their 30 two-pointers, converting 12 of 16 free-throw attempts (75 percent), and out-rebounding the Generals, 36-14.
Sophomore forward Travis Cooper had a double-double, with a game-high 26 points, 17 rebounds and three assists. Senior Brandon Carter supported the Falcons' cause with 13 points.
"We started off [the season] 0-4, and we really turned it up," Cooper said. "We talked about it before the game, that [the Generals] are pretty scrappy and that we needed to just get on them quick and stay on them.
"I love giving assists. Nothing makes me feel better than hitting someone with a nice pass, getting them open and scoring a couple of times. I like to share the wealth a little bit."
Central (1-4) led 19-10 after the first period, keyed by seven points from Sean Semones, and six from Cooper.
The Falcons continued their offensive effectiveness in the second quarter to add 17 more points while imposing a scoring drought on the Generals, with Colton Harlow's 3-pointer accounting for all of Stonewall Jackson's scoring in the frame.
Semones provides floor leadership for the Falcons, initiating the set offensive plays, finding open teammates for high-percentage shots (seven assists), firing a way at the hoop when opportunities develop and hitting the boards.
"As a point guard, you look at it as a quarterback's perspective," Semones said. "You go out there, you call the plays, you start the offense, run the offense, and take care of the ball. I was able to get up and down the floor pretty smooth tonight. And we got our offense going and found layups and got the ball in the paint. That's what we needed to do."
Due to the huge lead, all the Falcons' bench players got playing time in the second half. Colon Harlow scored 10 points for the Generals (0-4), Hunter Smootz contributed eight, and Christian Alger chipped in seven.
"We haven't really had a whole lot of practice time, we've been playing a lot of games," Falcons coach Mickey Clinedinst said. "When we do practice, we try to put in a lot of time on shooting free throws.
"Overall, I thought we ran the offense much better. As a group, we passed the ball much better and moved the ball from side to side and we went inside, then we went back out. That's the way you're supposed to do it. You've got to have an inside presence, because that collapses the defense and opens up everything else. Everybody got to play. I was proud of all the kids and they got some quality time."
"Central's had a great program for years, and for them to start 0-4 must have been frustrating," Generals coach Bill Simmons said. "They took advantage of all of our weaknesses and laid the hammer down on us. Honestly, we needed to do better things on defense. Anytime you give up 84 points, you did not do your job, defensively."