Scott’s late 3 lifts Strasburg
QUICKSBURG — Strasburg junior Carey Scott has admittedly struggled to find her shot on the basketball court over the last few games.
But when she got an opportunity to give the Rams the lead in Monday’s road game against county rival Stonewall Jackson, Scott didn’t hesitate.
Scott connected on a 3-pointer from the corner to break a tie with 13 seconds remaining and then helped her teammates hold off one final attempt by the Generals — a contested 3-pointer by Stonewall senior Emily Jordan that clanged off the side of the rim — for a 37-34 win.
“I’ve been struggling a lot and Coach [Joel] Morgan just said keep shooting and they’ll start falling, they’ll start falling. He said ‘if you get open and you feel comfortable, just take it,'” said Scott, who finished with six points on a pair of 3-pointers. “I felt comfortable enough and I believe in my shot, so I just shot it and it went in.”
Scott’s late jumper — which gave Strasburg its first lead since early in the second period — capped a second-half rally by the Rams (4-2) that saw them overcome a 22-13 deficit at halftime. The Rams shot just 17 percent from the field in the first half — which ended with an 11-0 Stonewall Jackson run — but responded by hitting 10 of 17 shots over the final two quarters.
Strasburg ended up shooting 35 percent (14 for 40) from the field in the win and outscored Stonewall Jackson 24-12 in the second half.
“They went on a run there and went up by nine at the half and I’ll tell you what, you couldn’t have gone into halftime feeling any more deflated than our kids were,” Morgan said. “We told them at halftime, I told them what we wanted to do and you could really tell the difference as the game moved later into the third and into the fourth. Our kids were coming down and running their offense, moving the ball side to side, trusting each other more. We didn’t always score but we became more efficient.”
Despite battling offensive struggles of their own (Stonewall shot only 20.8 percent on 10 of 48 shooting), the Generals (1-2) held the lead for most of Monday night’s game and carried a 28-23 advantage into the fourth period after senior Kayla Miller hit a bucket in the paint to close out the third.
Strasburg cut the deficit to 30-28 when freshman Olivia Gochenour made a 3-pointer from the corner with 6:20 to play, but Stonewall Jackson answered with a 4-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Jordan (11 points).
The Rams then began chipping away at the lead and would eventually close out the game with a 9-0 run.
Strasburg senior Emily Melnikoff got the run started with a deep jumper from the wing, and a bucket in the paint by senior Kerigan Jenkins on the Rams’ next possession cut Stonewall’s lead to 34-32 with 2:15 to play.
Melnikoff (10 points) tied the game with a second-chance bucket with 1:33 left to play, but she missed the ensuing free throw after drawing a foul on the play that would’ve given the Rams the lead. Scott hit her game-winning shot two possessions later.
Stonewall Jackson head coach Jeff Burner said afterwards he was displeased with how the Generals handled the lead late in the fourth period, as they attempted — and missed — a trio of 3-pointers despite holding a lead in the final four minutes.
“We don’t know how to win right now. We’re trying to figure that out,” Burner said. “We took three 20-footers with a six-point lead with three minutes left. That’s not very smart basketball at all. We can make excuses like ‘we haven’t been here, we haven’t done that,’ but if you have been around basketball you know not to do those things. That’s not very smart basketball.”
Stonewall Jackson turned the ball over 22 times, and while the Rams had 21 turnovers of their own in the win, Morgan said he was fairly pleased with how Strasburg handled the Generals’ full-court pressure, particularly after having to turn to an inexperienced bench after three Rams starters got into foul trouble in the first half.
That foul trouble prompted the Rams to play more zone defense in the second half, which may have worked in Strasburg’s favor against the cold-shooting Generals. Stonewall Jackson was 10 for 12 from the free-throw line in the first half but made just two trips to the line in the second half and made one free throw on four attempts.
“I think they went to a zone and then instead of being patient we decided to chuck a little bit and that’s not what we’re good at,” Burner said. “We’re going to have to get better at that.
“Hopefully we’re going to get there. We’re working hard.”
Kelsey Jenkins finished with 11 points to lead Strasburg, while senior Jayme Kokkonen had eight points for Stonewall Jackson.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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