Stump’s 3-pointer lifts Rams over Bulldogs
STRASBURG — Strasburg’s boys basketball team spent most of Monday’s Ram Hardwood Classic championship game trying to figure out how to attack Luray’s zone defense. The points were hard to come by for the Rams but when it mattered most, junior Jordan Stump delivered.
Stump knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in the fourth period and the Bulldogs came up empty on four shot attempts in the final seconds as the Rams held on for a 40-39 victory.
“I really didn’t think about it. It was more of a reaction. I was open and I took my opportunity, and luckily I made the shot,” said Stump, who scored 10 of Strasburg’s 16 second-half points and led the Rams with 14 overall.
Strasburg (8-2) trailed for most of the second half after the Bulldogs (4-3) opened the third period with a 9-2 run that erased the Rams’ 24-20 halftime lead. Luray led 36-32 with 3:21 remaining following a pair of made free throws by Josh Good (13 points) but Stump gave the Rams a big boost a minute later when he knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner to pull Strasburg within one.
“I thought Jordan Stump stepped up when we needed somebody to knock down some shots,” said Strasburg head coach Matt Hiserman, whose team shot 31.6 percent (12 for 38) from the floor in the win.
Luray’s Andrew Clements and Rams senior Ryan Smoot traded baskets inside to keep the Bulldogs ahead 38-37 with two minutes left, and a free throw by Robert Van Wyck gave Luray a two-point lead with 33 seconds remaining.
Stump then delivered the final blow, as Smoot found him open on the wing with a kick out from the low block for the go-ahead 3.
Luray had four chances to reclaim the lead as the seconds ticked away, but came up empty on each one. Van Wyck missed a contested runner as he pushed the ball down the floor and the ball eventually made it into the hands of Bulldogs junior Leo Yates (game-high 17 points). Yates, who hit four 3-pointers for the Bulldogs in the loss, rushed a deep 3-point attempt that missed and Clements couldn’t connect on two chances at a tip-in under the basket before the buzzer sounded.
Luray had four timeouts remaining when the game ended, and head coach Jim Sanders opted not to use one after Stump’s game-winning shot.
“If we call a timeout, I’d say we got one shot. Unfortunately we just kind of panicked there a little bit,” Sanders said.
The Bulldogs also missed three of four free throws in the final two minutes, including a pair of misses on the front end of two one-and-one chances.
“We make our free throws coming down the stretch run and I think we win the game going away,” said Sanders, whose team was 8 for 13 from the free-throw line.
Strasburg, which held Luray to 32.5 percent (13 for 40) from the floor, struggled offensively against the Bulldogs’ extended 2-3 zone. The Rams turned the ball over 17 times and managed only four points in the third period, although they did have seven different players score points by the end of the first half.
“Their length bothers you,” Hiserman said. “They’ve got kids that are long and lanky, longer than we are. I think it catches your kids by surprise because they’re not used to playing against that kind of [zone]. They don’t understand where the gaps are, where the lanes are and your first move can’t be what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go.
“I thought we didn’t attack the elbow area like I thought we wanted to,” he added. “And again that’s just a kid wondering whether or not he can get there. Once you turn it over once or twice with that, you get a little more passive. I thought that’s what happened to us some tonight.”
Smoot finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and four steals for the Rams, while Tyler Fincham finished with seven points and four rebounds for Strasburg.
Monday’s win and the resulting Ram Hardwood Classic championship trophy gave Strasburg a little bit of redemption against Luray, who beat the Rams in the tournament championship game last season.
“We got a win over a really good team and Luray is going to win a bunch of games in the Shenandoah [District],” Hiserman said. “I think that’s a big positive, getting a win over somebody like them.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com