Fadely’s career night helps Central hold on

Central's Austin Fadely drives past Warren County's Cameron Ford, left, and Clyde Ritchie, right, during first-half boys basketball action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — It didn’t matter where the shots came from — beyond the 3-point arc, inside the paint, at the free-throw line — something was just clicking for Central junior Austin Fadely on Monday night.

Fadely scored all of his career-high 33 points in the first three quarters in Monday’s boys basketball game against host Warren County, then helped his Falcons teammates hold off a late rally attempt by the Wildcats for a 65-62 Bull Run District win.

Fadely, who easily doubled his previous career high at the varsity level, hit 11 of 19 shots from the field and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the win, the first for Central this season.

“It was one of those nights where everything was falling and I happened to be getting to the bucket,” Fadely said. “My teammates were hitting me with some passes and it was just one of those great nights.”

The junior guard paced the Falcons (1-1, 1-1 Bull Run) early on, scoring 33 of Central’s first 54 points while always seeming to find a way to keep his team a step ahead of the Wildcats (0-4).

Central's Brady Baker fires a one hand shot over Warren County's Robert Rutherford during first-half boys basketball action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Warren County — which opened the game in a 2-3 zone but was forced to abandon it after the Falcons began hitting shots from the perimeter — made a defensive switch late in the third period and put senior Patrick Cockrell on Fadely. The move held Fadely scoreless in the final period, but Central still managed to generate enough offensively to maintain the lead before coming up with a big stop in the final seconds.

“We just toughed it out. These guys, new varsity kids, kids who don’t have a lot of experience, it would’ve been real easy for us to fold and not finish that game out,” Falcons head coach Brandon Shields said. “We didn’t make it easy. I would’ve loved to have closed it out a little more clean than we did, but I think we showed a lot of toughness and resiliency.”

Central, which opened the final quarter with a 54-49 lead, slowed down the pace in the fourth period in an effort to drain some valuable time off the clock.

Warren County trimmed the deficit to three points on three different occasions in the fourth quarter, and even pulled within 64-62 with 56 seconds left when sophomore Cameron Ford nailed a crucial 3-pointer to answer a bucket by Falcons senior Joseph McConkey.

A made free throw by Central’s Brady Baker gave the Falcons a 65-62 lead with 30 seconds left, and Warren County had a chance to tie following McConkey’s missed free throw with 22 seconds remaining. The Wildcats tried to work the ball to Ford — who made six 3-pointers in the loss — but the sophomore missed on two chances in the final 10 seconds. His final attempt missed well wide of the rim as he heaved a fading, desperation shot from the right wing at the buzzer.

Warren County's Cameron Ford drives inside while Central's Joseph McConkey (24) defends during first-half boys basketball action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We just didn’t execute. We talked about it in the huddle, just a couple different things, options,” Wildcats head coach Vernon Mathews said. “We talked about it, we just didn’t execute.”

Fadely and the rest of the Falcons showed the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter early, as Kobi Hoover nailed a 3-pointer in the opening 10 seconds to set the tone for Central’s 43 percent (23 for 53) effort from the floor in the win.

But Warren County managed to keep pace with the Falcons despite trailing for nearly the entirety of Monday’s game, as Ford’s accuracy from long range pulled the Wildcats back into the game on multiple occasions. The sophomore finished with 25 points to lead Warren County.

Central carried a 35-31 lead into halftime, and Fadely made sure the Falcons would maintain that lead as he scored 15 of Central’s 19 points in the frame. Fadely, who said Warren County began guarding him tighter along the perimeter after his shooting success from the outside, began driving in to the lane and converting high-percentage buckets with consistency early in the second half.

“We’ve talked about him and how he has to be the man now. I thought the word to describe him tonight was relentless,” Shields said. “He was just coming at you no matter what. That’s who we need him to be. We need him to be a guy who can carry us offensively.

Central's Bryan Davis (21) shoots under Warren County's Cameron Ford during first-half boys basketball action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“He was who we needed him to be tonight, and some.”

D’andre Lawrence finished with 15 points for the Wildcats — 10 of which came in the second half, while Clyde Ritchie had 12 for Warren County.

The Wildcats shot 38.6 percent (22 for 57) from the field in the loss.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com