By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Central coach Stephanie Cooper only had one word to sum up her team's 42-28 loss to Luray on Saturday -- "embarrassing."
The Falcons looked sluggish from start to finish in the non-district girls basketball loss to the Bulldogs.
Central was playing for the second consecutive game without sophomore point guard and leading scorer Katelyn Poston, who is out with a concussion suffered in the Falcons' win over Clarke County on Wednesday.
"That's still no excuse for our lack of effort," Cooper said of Poston's absence. "Katelyn's our point guard, she handles the ball, she starts our offense. She plays good defense, she scores on offense. There's no doubt we miss her, but that's still no excuse for the rest of the team not to play harder."
Central sophomore Brenna Cook hit a 3-pointer to give the Falcons a quick lead. Luray's Jordan Dudley responded with a 3-pointer to tie the game. Central senior Theresa Barela's free throw gave the Falcons a 4-3 lead with 6:01 left in the first quarter. It would be the last lead of the game for the Falcons.
Luray scored the next 12 points to take control of the game.
The Bulldogs (6-1) used a balanced scoring attack in the second quarter to take a 28-12 lead at halftime.
"We came out and got off to a good start," Luray coach Chris Ponn said. "Some baskets fell for us, which was good."
The Falcons (3-5, 1-1 Bull Run) were able to get a little momentum in the third quarter, and the very beginning of the fourth.
A 3-pointer by Cook to start the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 37-25, but that would be as close as the Falcons would get.
Luray scored the next five points to put the game away.
The Falcons lost on the road to Madison County, 52-50, on Friday night, and Cooper said the team played much better in that contest.
"They played hard with intensity and passion for 32 minutes," Cooper said. "I couldn't have been prouder of them. Then tonight we come back and it's like we're a completely different team."
Cook led the Falcons with 11 points, while Barela added eight.
Jenny Kelly led the Bulldogs with 12 points, while Adrian Henry added nine.
The Bulldogs lost their first game of the season Friday, 60-23, to East Rockingham. Ponn said he was very happy with how his team responded the next day.
"Sometimes when you're faced with adversity it can give up a wake-up call," Ponn said. "It was our third game this week. And I really couldn't ask much more from them.
"We just have to keep getting better. I think last night's served as a wake-up for us."
Cooper is hoping the loss to the Bulldogs will serve as a wake-up call for her team, who will host Group A state semifinalist George Mason on Wednesday.
"We just have to try to grow from it," Cooper said. "We have to work hard on Monday and Tuesday in practice and come out and play harder in our next game."