By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Tyler Doman had been struggling with his shot earlier in the season, so the Strasburg senior began working even harder to get it going.
The hard work has paid off in the last week, and it especially showed Monday night against Central. Doman hit five 3-pointers to help lead the Rams past Shenandoah County rival Central 67-45 in Bull Run District boys basketball action.
"I've been shooting it pretty well the past week," Doman said. "I've been working on my shot. I really feel like it's improved."
Doman came out strong in the first period as he scored eight of his career-high 23 points in the first eight minutes, including two 3-pointers.
Central's Ricky Neff scored eight of his game-high 24 points as Strasburg led 14-13 after the first period.
Strasburg then took over the game in the second period. The Rams used a 27-5 run to help take control of the game. The scoring included seven layups, and a rare four-point play by Matt Clutter.
Strasburg had six different players score during the run.
"It started with defense," Ryan Smoot said. "And we got a couple huge buckets, and the and-1 on the 3 by Matt [Clutter], which was huge, and we were rolling."
Strasburg coach Matt Hiserman said the Rams have been playing better defense lately and that helped lead to the big quarter against the Falcons.
"We've been playing defense well all year, but we've really stepped up our defensive game," Hiserman said. "We created some turnovers we weren't creating early on in the year, and getting some easy buckets in transition."
The Rams (10-5, 6-3 Bull Run) led 40-20 at the half, and continued the onslaught in the third period. Strasburg went on a 17-4 spurt to build a 59-28 lead with 40 seconds left in the period, led by 12 points from Doman.
"The emphasis at halftime was not to coast in the second half, and I think we came out in the third quarter and made a statement again," Smoot said.
The Falcons (6-8, 4-5 Bull Run) struggled on both offense and defense, and coach Brandon Shields said they were outplayed in every phase of the game.
"They were better defensively," Shields said. "They were better offensively. They won the loose balls. They won the glass. They took care of the ball."
It's the seventh straight win for the Rams against the Falcons, and Smoot said it was a good feeling to keep the streak going.
"It's great to any sport, any time -- it's great to beat them. They're our rivals," Smoot said. "The crowd was great. I think both student sections are really pushing for support right now. They did a great job again. They were into it. It was great. The atmosphere was awesome."
Travis Cooper had 10 points for the Falcons. Shields said his team, which has lost three of its last five games, needs to play with more pride.
"It comes down to pride," Shields said. "That was one of the main words in the post-game [talk] tonight was having pride in your jersey, and pride in what you do. Having enough pride to get some stops. And we went through a stretch there [Monday night] where we didn't do that, and the result is what it is."
Smoot had 14 points and six rebounds for the Rams, while Jonathan Kloosterman had nine points, seven rebounds and five assists off the bench. Clutter had eight points, and Trevon Howard had eight for the Rams.
Strasburg has now won four in a row, and Hiserman said the squad is playing good team basketball.
"I'm pleased with our effort overall," Hiserman said. "We played as a team at both ends of the floor, and when we do that we're pretty good. Now we just got to keep going."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com