By Brad Fauber
QUICKSBURG -- It's tough to beat a team that spends a good chunk of a basketball game shooting over 70 percent from the field. It's even tougher when you turn the ball over 21 times and lack the execution to keep pace on offense.
Stonewall Jackson's boys basketball team found that out against visiting Shenandoah District foe Luray on Friday night, as the Generals stumbled on Senior Night in a disappointing 70-42 blowout loss to the Bulldogs.
"We let it get away from us a little early," Generals coach Patrick Smoot said. "We didn't execute some of the things that we talked about. That's what happens."
Stonewall Jackson (7-11, 3-10 Shenandoah) kept pace with the Bulldogs early on, as Luray (11-9, 8-4) held a 15-10 lead after the first period.
The Bulldogs began to heat up in the second period, as Joshua Kling and Leo Yates nailed back-to-back 3-pointers in the frame's first minute to quickly extend Luray's lead to 11. The Generals cut the deficit back to 23-17 following a bucket inside by senior Hunter Smootz, but Luray used a 13-0 run to blow the game open.
Yates started the run with his second trey of the frame, and the Bulldogs scored on four straight possessions in a two-minute span. Robert Van Wyck capped the run with a 3-pointer from the wing to give Luray a 36-17 lead with one minute to play in the first half.
Stonewall Jackson junior Ryan Smith finally ended the run with a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the second period to send Luray into halftime with a 36-20 lead.
The Bullldogs hit 8 of 10 shots from the floor in the second period -- including four 3-pointers -- and shot 70 percent from the field over the final three quarters. Luray shot 55.3 percent (21 for 38) from the floor in the game.
"Coach has been putting us through shooting [drills] every day. It helps a lot," said Yates, who finished with a game-high 18 points and hit four 3-pointers in the win. "When one hit, we all made it, it felt like."
Luray continued its hot shooting in the second half, as Malcolm Frye hit a bucket in the paint before Kling and Yates again hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Bulldogs a 44-20 lead. Yates extended Luray's lead to 30 points midway through the third period when he knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner, drew a foul and hit the ensuing free throw.
"Tonight I was pretty happy with the way we came out, especially in the second half," Luray coach Jim Sanders said. "We had a little bit of trouble there in the beginning, in a way, but then in the second half we came out and really just put the pedal to the metal a little bit."
The Bulldogs took a 55-29 lead into the fourth quarter, and both teams spent most of their time at the free-throw line over the final eight minutes. Luray attempted just two field goals in the final period and scored 13 of its 15 points in the frame at the free-throw line. Luray was 20 for 29 from the free-throw line in the game.
Stonewall Jackson struggled all night against Luray's extended half-court zone, which utilized traps near half court and along the sidelines. The Generals turned the ball over 21 times and shot 37.5 percent (15 for 40) from the field.
"It's a little different than what we see normally. It's a little more aggressive and our guys backed down some," Smoot said of Luray's defense. "If we would've attacked like we did later in the game it may have been a different situation. But it was frustrating that we just didn't attack. We were a little passive. If we would've attacked it might've been different."
Kling and Joshua Good each finished with 11 points for Luray. Smith, Ian Pugh and Kory Somers each had seven points apiece for the Generals.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com