Tamra Scott sparks Central past Skyline

FRONT ROYAL — Central once again started off slowly, but the Falcons rose to the occasion when it mattered on Monday night.

The Falcons rallied in the second half for a 47-42 girls basketball victory over Skyline.

Central rallied on Saturday after a lackluster first against Stonewall Jackson as well.

“You can’t wait 16 minutes to play against anybody,” Central coach Mallory Skarupa said. “You can’t overlook anyone. It doesn’t matter who you play, you can’t do that.”

Central sophomore Tamra Scott scored 11 consecutive points for the Falcons during a stretch of the third and fourth periods.

“She wanted it,” Skarupa said of Scott. “She had that desire, that look in her eyes.”

Scott helped give the Falcons a 30-27 edge going into the fourth period, after they had trailed 16-12 at the half.

“Scott’s tough. She’s hard to stop,” Skyline coach Jim Kenney said. “I thought we did a good job on everyone else, though.”

Skyline would not go away. Skyline’s Kaleigh Haines scored inside, and then Rachel Clifton hit a 3-pointer to push the Hawks back in front, 32-30 with 6:56 left in the contest.

Scott and Clifton traded baskets. Central junior Cianne Fields broke Scott’s scoring run with a jumper to give the Falcons a 37-34 lead.

Clifton answered with a 3-pointer, and a basket by Jakya Jones gave Skyline the lead at 39-37 with two minutes remaining.

Central freshman Ayanna Strother tied the game with a basket with 1:21 left. A turnover led to a free throw by Fields to give the Falcons a 40-39 edge with 56 seconds left.

After a missed Skyline free throw, Strother knocked down two free throws for a 42-39 lead with 33 seconds left.

After another Skyline turnover, Scott scored inside the paint to extend the lead to five. Haines hit another 3-pointer with eight seconds left, but Strother converted an old fashioned three-point play in the final seconds to seal the win.

“I was really proud of Ayanna,” Skarupa said. “She stepped up and hit some big free throws, especially as a freshman.”

The game started off very slowly for both teams. The two teams combined for 13 first-period turnovers and only 12 points.

The Hawks were able to take a four-point halftime lead behind the play of Nikea Whitmore, who scored all of her eight points in the first half.

The Hawks were led by 14 points from Clifton and nine from Jones.

“I thought we played really well,” Kenney said. “Even though it was a loss, I think this will be a boost to our confidence. We’ll see if we can build on that confidence when we go to Handley.”

Scott led the Falcons with 23 points, 10 rebounds and six steals. Strother had seven of her 11 points in the final period and also had four steals and two assists. Brooklyn Pumphrey had four points and five rebounds.

It was Central’s fifth game in the last eight days, and Skarupa said they could use the practice time before playing Clarke County on Friday.

“I think it will be good for us to be able to rest up and get ready to try and give Clarke County a game,” Skarupa said.

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