Central falls to Clarke County

Central's Ayanna Strother goes up to the basket over Clarke County's Hannah Ravenscroft during first quarter girls high school basketball action in Woodstock on Friday night. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK — Central has started off strong this season, but on Friday night the Falcons hit a big road bump.

Clarke County controlled the Bull Run District girls basketball game from the start en route to a 62-34 victory over the Falcons.

“It’s a reality check,” Central coach Mallory Skarupa said. “If we can beat Clarke we can beat any other team. That’s props to them. They have a good program. They’re well established. They know what they’re going to do. They went out and executed their game plan — we did not.”

The Eagles (8-0, 5-0 Bull Run) scored the first 10 points of the game, led by two baskets inside by Clarke County center Sydney Chrane. The Falcons had trouble handling Clarke County’s pressure defense throughout the game, whether it was the full-court press or with half-court traps.

“We know to stay out of the corners. It doesn’t matter if we beat their press. They’re going to trap us in the half court, too,” Skarupa said. “We watched film. We had the game plan, but we didn’t execute — that’s what it comes down to.”

Central's Tamra Scott goes up over Clarke County's Sydney Crane during first quarter girls basketball action Friday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

Central (5-2, 3-2 Bull Run) finished with 30 turnovers in the game, and had 11 of those in the opening quarter. Central also had only 13 rebounds total in the game.

Two free throws each by Tamra Scott and Brooke Sager and a basket by Ayanna Strother helped cut the lead to 13-6 with 1:01 left in the opening period. However, a 3-pointer by Anna Blue Catlett gave the Eagles a 10-point lead and they led by double digits the rest of the game.

The Falcons switched their defenses throughout the game to try and slow down Chrane inside. Going from zone to a box-and-one, and it was effective for a stretch. Chrane was held scoreless for an 11-minute stretch, but the Falcons still had troubles on the offensive end.

Two free throws each by Cianne Fields and Scott helped cut the lead to 27-14 with 2:25 left in the first half, but the Eagles responded with four straight free throws.

“We fought hard. We kept fighting,” Skarupa said. “We need to work on playing smarter and playing together. It takes two girls to make a pass. It takes a girl coming to the ball hard. It takes a good pass from the girl throwing it. You can’t win this game alone. You need to work together.”

Central's Cianne Fields beats Clarke County's Jade Payton to the bucket off a fast break during second quarter girls high school basketball action in Woodstock on Friday night. Rich Cooley/Daily

Chrane led the Eagles with 16 points and Kolby Parrott had 12.

Scott led the Falcons with 10 points, while Brooklyn Pumphrey had eight. Skarupa said she was happy with Pumphrey’s play.

“She kept her head, stepped up,” Skarupa said. “We needed that. We needed a calming presence to say ‘let’s go, we can do this,’ pointing out the little things that are working for us on the court. [Assistant coach] Sarah [Swartz] and I can say whatever we want to, but sometimes it takes one of them saying it and realizing it as well.”

Skarupa said she was also happy with the play and progress of sophomore point guard Sager, who finished with six points.

“She doesn’t get enough credit,” Skarupa said of Sager. “We’re asking a lot of Brooke Sager. She’s a sophomore, stepping up playing that point guard position for us. She works hard in practice every day. Her defense is usually top-notch and on point.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com