Youthful Falcons knock off ‘Cats

Central's Tamara Scott shoots over Warren County's Autumn Troxell during first-half girls basketball action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — Central’s girls basketball team is so young that no one on the team has their driver’s license. On Monday, the Falcons showed that youth doesn’t matter on the basketball court.

The Falcons used a strong second quarter to pull out a 48-34 victory over Warren County in Bull Run District action.

“I’m happy about our team,” Central sophomore center Tamara Scott said. “We all get along on the court, which is good. I think we all have really good chemistry.”

Central took control of the game early in the second quarter. The Falcons led 8-4 after the first, and freshman Ayanna Strother started a 13-0 run with a basket 34 seconds into the second period.

The Falcons were able to force Warren County into turnovers and convert them into points during the run.

Warren County's Autumn Troxell (10) blocks a lay-up attempt by Central's Cianne Fields during first-half girls basketball action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“The second quarter we definitely picked up our defense,” Central junior guard Cianne Fields said. “I think we realized they were hungry for some more points, and they wanted to come back. So we picked it up a little bit. We wanted to end the first half on a good note.”

Warren County had 12 turnovers in the second period. Cianne Fields had nine of her 13 points in the quarter. Fields and Strother combined for nine points during the decisive run.

The Falcons (2-0, 2-0 Bull Run) were able to take a 34-19 lead at halftime, but the Wildcats battled back in the second half.

The Wildcats trailed by 19 in the third period, but cut the lead to 12, 36-24, on two free throws by Autumn Troxell with 4:40 left in the game. However, turnovers and the play of Scott down the stretch sealed the win for Central. The Wildcats had 28 turnovers in the game.

“We’re beating ourselves,” Warren County coach John Kelly said. “The second half we had a chance to come back and get them. We were down [12], and then we turn the ball over three straight times. That was the name of the game right there for us.”

The Falcons had trouble getting the ball inside to the 5-foot-7 Scott against the bigger Wildcats, but down the stretch Scott was able to get the ball and score.

Scott had six of her 13 points in the fourth period.

“I started out really rough because they were shutting me down pretty good,” Scott said. “Fourth quarter, I started picking it up.”

Central went eight minutes and one second without a basket during a stretch of the third and fourth periods. The Falcons did make seven free throws during that stretch, but only made 6-of-16 free throws in the third quarter, but it was still enough to keep control of the game.

Samantha Schroyer led the Wildcats with 14 points, while Troxell added nine.

Like Central, Warren County has a very young team this season, especially at the guard spot. Kelly said it will take time for his young team to come together.

“It’s not a one or two game fix. It’s going to take them all season to get used to the speed of playing at the varsity level,” Kelly said. “The second half, we never quit. … I see the signs there. It’s just a matter of maturity at this point for us.”

Scott had 10 rebounds, and Fields had four steals for the Falcons. Strother had 10 points, three steals and three assists for Central.

The Falcons have only four players back from last year’s team, which advanced to the Group 3A state semifinals. Central coach Mallory Skarupa said that she likes coaching the young group of players, and that they have good attitudes.

“They understand that our backs are against the wall. They know that we’re not going to repeat last year if we don’t put in the work,” Skarupa said. “I kind of like being the underdog. No one’s going to give us any respect. So we have to go out there and earn it and prove it to them why they should respect us — that we can be a threat.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or