By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Central wanted to make the most of its Senior Day game against county rival Strasburg on Saturday afternoon, and after a slow start the Falcons did just that.
Central pulled away with strong second and third periods for a 59-34 Bull Run District girls basketball victory over the Rams.
Central seniors Katelyn Poston, Rebecca Truban, Mary Wakeman and Sydney Plum were honored with a ceremony before the game.
"It was emotional," Central coach Mallory Skarupa-Minster said. "I think we had to keep our emotions in check that first quarter. But once we settled down, I think we were able to play our game and run our offense."
The Falcons (15-7) held a 12-8 lead over the Rams after the first period. Back-to-back baskets by Strasburg's Mikala Alsberry and Carey Scott seemed to give the Rams a little momentum heading into the second period.
However, Poston took the momentum away in the second period.
The senior point guard scored 11 of her game-high 25 points in the second period, including going 9-for-12 from the free-throw line.
"The refs were calling it when I was driving, so I just kept doing what was working for me," Poston said with a laugh. "My free throws were going in and my jump shot, I knew before the game, was a little off. So, I took care of business from the free-throw line, I thought well, considering my shot was off."
Wakeman and Poston combined to score all six points in a 6-0 run to start the period, but a 3-pointer by Strasburg's Marissa Doman and a basket by Emily Melnikoff kept the Rams close.
The two teams traded baskets until Central closed the first half out with a 10-0 run. Poston went 6-for-8 from the free-throw line during the spurt to help give the Falcons a 31-16 halftime lead.
Strasburg's Katie Dofermire scored inside the paint to start the third period, but the Falcons went on an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Poston and Plum combined for all 11 points during the run.
"It was definitely a memorable game, and I'm really happy that we got to play it against Strasburg," Poston said. "It makes it a lot more special considering they're our rivalry. They gave us a good run there at the beginning, and that just made the game even better."
Skarupa-Minster said the four seniors are a special group.
"We're definitely going to miss them next year, in terms of leadership and production," Skarupa-Minster said. "They're just a great group of girls on and off the court."
Alsberry led the Rams with nine points.
Strasburg (12-10) will play at Central again today at 6:30 p.m. in the Bull Run District tournament quarterfinals.
"We'll certainly, I think, compete better on Monday," Strasburg coach Joel Morgan said. "We'll see if we can make a few adjustments and play a little bit better, and see what we can do -- looking forward to it."
Poston also had 10 rebounds and three assists for Central. Tamra Scott had nine points and three steals, and Plum had nine points for the Falcons.
The win could help give the Falcons the No. 2 seed in next week's Conference 28 tournament. If John Champe loses either of its last two regular season conests, the Falcons will be the No. 2 seed, which would include a first-round bye.
This week's district tournament should provide good preparation for the Falcons heading into the conference tournament.
"We have a tough district, so having that definitely prepares us well for the conference and whatever other teams we're going to have to face," Poston said. "I think as long as we work hard, and keep doing what we're doing, we'll have a good shot at being able to go far."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd