Rams fall in OT to Dragons

Strasburg's Emily Melnikoff prepares to dish off a pass along the baseline while William Monroe's Breanna Strother defends during first half girls high school basketball action Monday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — Strasburg had plenty of chances against William Monroe on Monday night, but couldn’t make the most of them.

The Dragons made a few more plays down the stretch to pull out a 38-37 overtime victory over the Rams in Bull Run District girls basketball action.

“We handled some things down the stretch pretty well, but I just felt the whole night from the time the game started, the opening layup we missed, I just felt like we did not do enough things to win the game,” Strasburg coach Joel Morgan said. “I think we did enough things to just kind of lose the game tonight. That’s one that kind of stings right there. It’s one you feel like you ought to win. You feel like you should have got a win, you feel like you just lost it.”

The game headed into overtime tied at 33. William Monroe’s Breanna Strother made a free throw to give the Dragons a 34-33 edge with 3:35 left in overtime. Neither team could score for almost three minutes.

Lauren Morris made a free throw to extend the lead to 35-33, but Strasburg’s Kelsey Jenkins tied the game with two free throws with 38 seconds left. Strother quickly went down and scored to give William Monroe a 37-35 lead.

Strasburg's Kelsey Jenkins goes up for a reverse layup over William Monroe's Breanna Strother during girls high school basketball action Monday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

After a Strasburg turnover, Strother made one of two free throws to extend the lead to 38-35 with 16 seconds left. Strother was 3-for-8 before knocking down the free throw, and the Dragons were 10-for-26 from the foul line for the game.

“Free throws were obviously a big deal,” William Monroe coach Jess Stafford said. “We didn’t make nearly as many as we should have, but at the end when it mattered they came in.”

Strasburg’s Emily Melnikoff hit two free throws with eight seconds left to cut the lead to 38-37. After two missed William Monroe free throws, Strasburg had one last chance but Carey Scott’s shot in the final seconds didn’t go down giving the Dragons the victory.

“Overtime games are so fun,” Stafford said. “During the timeouts I’m telling the kids, ‘Enjoy this.’ I tell the kids, ‘Take a second, breathe it in, keep your composure.’ I thought both teams easily could have come away with a win tonight, luckily we just did what we had to do down the stretch to make it happen for us.”

Strasburg (5-4) trailed early, but ended the first half with a 6-0 run to take a 14-13 lead. After William Monroe scored first in the second half, the two teams traded baskets to make the score 19-19.

Strasburg's Olivia Gochenour drives to the basket on a fast break while William Monroe's Autumn Pomeroy tries to catch up during girls high school basketball action Monday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Rams then went on another 6-0 run to take the biggest lead of the game for either team, 25-19 with 2:51 left in the third period.

The Dragons (5-5) had 23 turnovers in the game, but only three in the fourth period and overtime combined. They began taking acre of the ball, and put on a full-court press which helped them get back in the game.

William Monroe used a 9-0 to start the fourth period to take a 29-25 lead with 5:07 left in regulation.

“[When we were down six] I told the coaching staff we’re going to have to do something different,” Stafford said. “We’re going to have to up the intensity. So we came out in that full-court press, and really the goal was just to speed them up. If we can get some turnovers, great. We wanted them to come down take a quick shot and only give them one chance — box out, get the rebound and it worked for us.”

“They just outplayed us in that stretch right there, where we were up [six] and then we go down four,” Morgan said. “We felt like we had kind of taken control of the game a little bit, and then you’re feeling like you’re just out of control.”

Strasburg's Haley Bischoff is fouled as she goes up underneath the basket while William Monroe's Da'Jour Strother defends during girls high school basketball action Monday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Rams responded with a 6-2 run to tie the game at 31-31 on a basket by Jenkins with 2:32 left. Melnikoff had the other four points during the run for the Rams.

A free throw each by Breanna Strother and DaJour Strother gave the Dragons a 33-31 lead with 59 seconds left. Scott’s jumper with 23 seconds left tied the game to send it into overtime.

Breanna Strother led the Dragons with 14 points, while DaJour Strother added nine.

Strasburg was led by Jenkins with 13 points, three steals and three assists. Melnikoff had 11 points, three steals and two assists, and Scott had seven points and eight rebounds for the Rams. Strasburg shot 28 percent (14-for-50) from the floor. Strasburg is off until Dec. 30 when it plays at Moorefield (W.Va.).

“This is a tough one, but we do have a little bit of time to catch out breath and maybe get a few practices in,” Morgan said. “We need to get better. Our kids are competing, but when you struggle to score every game, it seems like there are none that are easy.”

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

Strasburg's Kerrigan Jenkins looks to pass underneath the basket as William Monroe's Makayla Morris defends during girls high school basketball action Monday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily