Falcons find themselves in second half, top Generals

WOODSTOCK –The Central and players are not sure who was on the floor for them in the first half Saturday night, but the Falcons are thankful that there were two halves to their contest against Stonewall Jackson.

Central rallied from a slow start to pull out a 50-35 girls basketball victory over Stonewall Jackson.

“That first half that wasn’t us,” Central sophomore center Tamra Scott said. “I don’t know who that was. It wasn’t us. Somebody must have taken over our bodies, because that is not how we play ball. I think it was just jitters, just the fans. It’s a rivalry game. It just got in our heads.”

Central (4-1) went 0-for-10 from the floor in the first period, as Stonewall Jackson’s full-court press bothered them.

The Generals (1-1) didn’t shoot a lot better in the opening period, going 2-for-14 from the field, and only 6-for-16 from the free-throw line for a 10-5 lead. Central also found itself i foul trouble with four different players picking up two fouls in the first six minutes.

Central seemed rushed and totally out of sync and it carried over into the second period.

“It was like it was a hot potato,” Central coach Mallory Skarupa said. “It’s like why? Why rush, just relax. We’re better than this.

“It was like there were strangers that stole our jerseys and came out.”

A layup by Central junior Cianne Fields started a 10-0 run and gave the Falcons their first lead, 15-14 with 3:42 left in the first half.

A 3-pointer and a free throw by Emily Jordan and two free throws by freshman Sara Streett gave the Generals a 20-15 edge with 2:53 left in the first half.

The Falcons scored the last five points of the half, including a steal and a layup in the final seconds by sophomore Autumn Shelton to tie the game at the half.

Both teams were dismal at the free-throw line throughout the game. Stonewall Jackson went 9-for-20 in the first half, and 11-for-28 for the game. Central made went 1-for-12 in the second period from the line, and 22-for-50 in the game.

“It was sort of like a lost opportunity,” Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said. “We had a couple of layup misses, and then we had a lot of free throw misses in the first half. We had done a lot of the things that we wanted to do up to that point. But a lot of it with this group is just confidence in what we’re working on. They just got to have a lot more confidence in themselves.”

Things were much different in the second half for the Falcons. They were able to get the ball inside to Scott and she took over to start the second half.

Scott scored Central’s first 10 points of the half, and 11 of their 13 in the third period to build a 33-24 lead.

“I think starting out in the third quarter I kind of had to lead us,” Scott said. “When I made that first basket at the start of the third quarter that got us up, and that’s when I started getting everybody pumped up. This is our game. This is our time to shine.”

Back-to-back baskets by Stonewall Jackson’s Jordan and Cheyanne Green cut the lead to 33-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

Central went on an 8-0 run to start the quarter and stretch the lead to 41-28 with 3:28 left in the game.

Jordan hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 10, but that was as close as the Generals would get the rest of the way.

Scott said the second half the real Falcons showed up.

“Second half we came out and that was our Falcon game,” Scott said. “Starting out in the third quarter that was our game. That was us.”

Jordan led the Generals with 16 points and four steals. Burner said his young squad has to find a way to avoid long scoring droughts.

“We keep going through these droughts of four and five minuets where we don’t score at all,” Burner said. “It’s all in our heads. In the fourth quarter we got some great layup opportunities, and we’re not making them. So, until we make those it’s going to be tough. We got to get that confidence to where we’re going to make those shots.”

Scott led the Falcons with 21 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Brooklyn Pumphrey had 12 points, and Erika Thorpe had four assists for the Falcons.

Skarupa said that the key for the Falcons this season is simply to play the way they are capable.

“When we play like we know how to, we can do some pretty great things,” Skarupa said. “We can play our game and stick together.”

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