Inexperienced Falcons fall to Mountaineers

WOODSTOCK — Central has an inexperienced squad this season and in the Falcons’ season opener it showed.

The Falcons never led and struggled shooting the ball in a 59-36 Bull Run District boys basketball loss to Madison County on Tuesday night.

“We have a lot of guys, that this was their first real varsity experience. I think it showed in a lot of different ways tonight,” Central coach Brandon Shields said. “It’s a learning experience.”

The Mountaineers, who were playing their second game of the season, used a 16-5 run that spanned the first and second quarters to build an 18-7 edge.

Central doesn’t have a lot of height, and relied too heavily on the 3-pointer. The Falcons were 0-for-9 from beyond the arc in the opening quarter.

“Right now the easy thing to do is just shoot the 3,” Shields said. “We do have some kids that can shoot the 3, but we don’t really have an inside post presence we can run things through. We don’t have that on this particular team, so we’ve got to find other ways to get paint touches.”

While the Falcons (0-1, 0-1 Bull Run) struggled from the outside, Madison County’s James Graves found his touch during the 16-5 run. Graves hit two 3-pointers to end the first quarter, and added another in the second to help the Mountaineers pull away.

“I noticed in the first quarter we hadn’t quite got the ball to James for any good looks, and we tried to get him some right at the end of the first quarter,” Madison County coach Ben Breeden said. “He knocked one of them down, and that kind of got him going. And we started to look for him a little bit more. He’s a solid all-around player for us, and he did a great job.”

Brady Baker had seven of Central’s 15 first-half points to help keep them within 13 at the break. Early in the fourth quarter, Central used a 9-6 spurt to cut the lead to 47-36 with 4:52 left.

Central’s Kobi Hoover hit back-to-back 3-pointers during the run. However, Madison County answered by scoring the last eight points of the contest.

The Mountaineers (1-1, 1-0 Bull Run) took 18 free throws, while Central only attempted four. Shields said that the team has to figure out a way to overcome their lack of size.

“We’ve got to find ways to score that may not be as conventional as other teams, because we’re all 6-foot or under,” Shields said. “We’re undersized at almost every position, every night. It doesn’t matter. You got to find a way to get it done. Other teams that have been small have found a way to get it done, and we’ll grow from it.”

Madison County had four players in double figures led by Graves with 17. Isiah Smith had 15, while De’Ondre Twyman had 12 and Dylan Breeden had 10. The Mountaineers were coming off a lopsided loss to Luray on Monday night.

“We’re still young. We’re stating three sophomores, but a lot of those guys started a lot last year,” Ben Breeden said. “They got 20-plus varsity games under their belt. Hopefully, they’ll hit their stride and we’ll figure out our identity as a team here in the next couple weeks.”

Austin Fadely led the Falcons with 12 points, while Baker added eight. Shields said that the team just has to learn from the loss and keep moving forward.

“I told them before the game: ‘You win, you’re not world beaters. You lose, you’re not going 0-22,'” Shields said. “We’re not going to let this game define the season. We’re going to grow from it, and hopefully get better as individuals and as a collective group.”

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