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Falcons overcome slow start, Rams

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Central's Meredith Phillips shoots over Strasburg's Kelsey Jenkins during second half girls basketball action Friday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Central's Brooklyn Pumphrey, left, and Meredith Phillips, center, fight over a loose ball with Strasburg's Kenzy McKelvey during second half girls basketball action Friday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Central's Meredith Phillips is sandwiched between Strasburg's Kenzy McKelvey, left, and Rachel Harriman, right, during girls basketball action Friday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Central's Katelyn Poston goes in for a layup over Strasburg's Kelsey Jenkins during second-half action Friday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Central's Mary Wakeman makes a quick stop between Strasburg's Kasey Fauber, left, and Emily Melnikoff, right, during second half action Friday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily


By Robert Edmonds - sports@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- Central traveled to Strasburg on Friday night to face the Rams in girls' basketball action. The Falcons came in on a three-game winning streak while the home team was hoping to end their own five game losing streak in Bull Run District competition.

The younger less experienced Rams team started off the game showing poise, but were quickly deflated by Central after the Falcons team members gathered themselves and focused their efforts and energy. After overcoming an early deficit, Central rallied to take the lead and never trailed again in a 48-33 victory.

"We needed to slow down and collect ourselves early," Falcons coach Mallory Skarupa said. "There was more energy in this game with it being Strasburg, a rival, in this game and we had to get through that nervous energy. Once we did that, I think we were able to settle in."

Strasburg scored the opening four points of the game and took a 7-4 lead when Kelsey Jenkins knocked down a 3-pointer nearing the midway point of the first quarter. Unfortunately for Strasburg, that would be the last basket for the Rams in the quarter when Central went on a 10-0 run.

A pair of free throws and a jump shot by Cianne Fields sparked the run and then two layups by Katelyn Poston sandwiched a Brooklyn Pumphrey score to cap the streak and give the Falcons the lead.

Another Falcons basket to open the second quarter continued the march before Katie Dofermire ended the Rams scoreless stretch when she scored on a putback after missing a pair of free throw opportunities. Strasburg, however, continued to struggle offensively only recording one more basket in the half while Poston and Meredith Phillips took over the game for Central.

Central used stiff defensive play to convert on transition baskets with Poston leading the way with seven steals and a game-high 23 points on the night.

"Katelyn [Poston] sets the tempo for us," Skarupa said. "She is our leading scorer and that's what you expect her to do. Once she gets going it has a trickledown effect on the rest of the team."

The second half began much the same as the first half with Central controlling the game although Strasburg did manage to cut the deficit by outscoring the Falcons 16-7 in the final quarter.

"We got off to a good start, but after they changed their defense on us I think we became a little disoriented," Rams coach Joel Morgan said. "We made some bad decisions and got a little lazy with the basketball around Poston and you can't do that against a player of her caliber."

Phillips recorded a double-double with 11 points on the night and 12 rebounds, and Pumphrey notched seven rebounds off the bench in the winning effort.

Despite the loss, Morgan remained positive about his teams' prospects for the rest of the season.

"We have a team that can play and can do the things we need to do to get some wins as we start the second half of our schedule," Morgan said. "We have to take one practice at a time and stay positive and not give up. If we can do that we can get some wins, and if we do that, once you get in the tournament who knows what can happen."




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