By Robert Edmonds - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Strasburg's victory Saturday night was nothing short of convincing.
Strasburg hosted Page County in boys basketball action and left no doubt as to who was the better team at least for one night.
In a game that they never trailed, the Rams snagged an early lead and ran over the Panthers dominating the second and third quarters en route to a 78-42 victory.
"I think we played pretty well tonight," Rams coach Millson French said. "Our offense could do some things better, but we were able to get quite a few easy baskets because of our defense. In Page's defense though, it appeared that after playing a run-and-gun style against Stuarts Draft last night, they didn't really have their legs under them."
Strasburg was led by Jonathan Kloosterman, who scored all 19 of his game-high points during the first half while wreaking havoc in the paint. After Tyler Hott opened the game with a 3-pointer, Kloosterman reeled off the next six points for the Rams.
"Coming into tonight, our intensity was way up for this game," Kloosterman said. "We wanted to run tonight and we were fired up. We played well on defense and kept them contained and that was one of the keys for us to the game tonight."
The Panthers battled behind the senior leadership of Tanner Dofflemyer. The forward scored eight of Page's 11 first-quarter points but a six-point run by Strasburg before the end of the quarter stretched the Rams lead to 10 after one period of play.
That was when things began to head south for Page. A basket from Strasburg's Tyler Doman was followed by a three-point play by Kloosterman. Dofflemyer answered with a jump shot, but it would be nearly six minutes before the Panthers would score again.
The cold shooting from the Panthers combined with a superb defensive performance by Strasburg limited opportunities and led to easy transition points for the Rams. Strasburg recorded 16 consecutive points during the scoreless stretch.
While Kloosterman led the way, several Strasburg players contributed including Arkell Goring, Tommy Caison, and Hott. Goring was a versatile threat with his quickness by notching steals on defense and penetrating on offense leading to not only scoring opportunities but also with assists.
"We have a lot of weapons on our team," French said. "We have guys that can make plays and Goring is so quick and unselfish. He penetrates well and that is a big plus for us. No one in practice can get in front of him and so far no one we have played has been able to either."
Goring had seven of his 16 points in the first half, while Caison and Hott each adding six during the first-half run leading to a 42-15 halftime lead.
"I just like to use my speed and take advantage of it when I can," Goring said. "Our defense has been coming up big, and I try to do whatever I can to help the team. We just have to play hard and do what we have to do so we can win."
The dominance continued when play resumed with Strasburg scoring the first 25 points of the second half, before Page finally got on the scoreboard nearly seven minutes into the action.
While Strasburg stretched the lead to as many as 52 points during the game, Page County coach Mike Purdham, was ejected from the game before Dwight Reynolds grabbed a steal and went the distance of the court for an easy layup to break the drought and start to get his team back on track.
The Panthers didn't quit and was able to trim the deficit, but it was too much to overcome. Page was able to outscore Strasburg in the fourth quarter against the majority of the Rams' substitutes. One lone bright spot came in the fourth quarter, however, when Dofflemyer hit a pair of free throws to record the 1,000th point of his career.
With the win Strasburg continued its impressive start to the season and the Rams hope to carry the momentum into a pair of district matchups scheduled in the upcoming week.
"It was certainly a pleasing win and the good news is that if we continue to work we can be even better," French said. "Page is not a bad basketball team, and this was a good win for us. Now we have to take care of business in our district this week. We have Manassas Park Tuesday and then go to George Mason Thursday and these are going to be big district games. We still have a ways to go yet."