By Robert Edmonds - firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite inclement weather postponing the Hardwood Classic championship game to Monday, the delay seemed to have little effect on the host team and their efforts.
A convincing win on Friday left Strasburg to play in the championship game on their home court against the James Wood Colonels. Similar to the prior performance, the Rams wasted little time to jump out to an early lead and then never looked back in a 77-60 victory.
"I think we did a real good job against the pressure defense," Strasburg coach Millson French said. "We have a lot of players that are able to see the floor well and sometimes I think that when we are facing the press, that kind of plays into our hands. In the last two games, we have seen that from both opponents and we've done a really good job of beating the pressure and attacking and taking advantage of our opportunities."
Leading by four points midway through the first quarter, Strasburg went on a 10-3 run behind the play of sophomore Ryan Smoot. A pair of free throws by Smoot started the stretch. Smoot then notched an offensive rebound following a Tyler Doman miss for another score.
"Ryan [Smoot] had a dynamite performance tonight," French said. "He is always normally a good rebounder, but he did a good job of going to the basket strong and making shots and drawing the foul and delivering from the free-throw line."
Tyler Hott followed with a 3-point basket on the Rams' next offensive possession. Smoot capped the stretch with a score following a Tommy Caison attempt and converted on a three-point play when he made a foul shot after being fouled in the act of shooting to help Strasburg take a 19-11 lead after the first period of play.
The Rams continued the onslaught against the Colonels' pressure defense, scoring the first eight points of the second period to widen the margin. Doman scored with a reverse layup when he drove baseline against three Colonels defenders to open the quarter.
James Wood finally found the bottom of the basket three minutes into the quarter when Ryland Williams hit a floater in the lane. Williams added two 3-pointers in the quarter, but the Strasburg offense continued to produce.
Smoot scored six of his game-high 25 points during the second quarter and finished the night with a double-double by adding 11 rebounds.
"I think we ran our offense well and when I got the ball I tried to take more of a scoring role with Jonathan [Kloosterman] out," Smoot said.
Strasburg continued to pour it on after the break, with several Rams players getting on the stat sheet. Caison had three early assists in the half as he found his teammates for open looks. The Rams led by as many as 27 points in the game, but the Colonels did not let down.
In the final period, James Wood finally caught fire and knocked down six 3-pointers by four different players as the Colonels managed to trim the deficit. But the Colonels were unable to overcome it with time running out, as the Rams extended their winning streak to six games.
"We came out extremely flat tonight," Colonels Coach Al Smith said. "We didn't shoot very well and were slow getting back on defense. We were sluggish, and against a good team like Strasburg you obviously can't play that way. We have three games during each of the next three weeks and we start district play on Friday, so we don't have time to sit and pout about this. We have to get back to work and move on."