Big third quarter lifts Falcons past Phoenix

Central's Brady Baker, left, and Rock Ridge's Tony Goodwin, right, struggle for a loose ball during Wednesday night boys basketball action in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Central’s boys basketball team got the type of game it needed on Wednesday night against visiting Rock Ridge.

The Falcons, a team trying to get back on track after ending a four-game losing streak last Thursday, needed something positive to happen against the Phoenix. It did, as Central held off Rock Ridge for a 48-40 Conference 28 victory in its first return to the court after the area’s recent bout with bad weather.

“It was a big one,” Falcons freshman Bryan Davis said. “Most of us haven’t touched a ball since our last game. Just coming out here, winning, playing good as a team – the energy was great from the beginning. It was awesome.”

Central (8-9) maintained a slim lead throughout the first half against the first-year school from Ashburn, but the Phoenix (8-7) responded in the second half by opening the third quarter with a 5-0 run to take a 26-22 lead.

The Falcons, who suffered through a 5½-minute scoring drought spanning the second and third periods, finally came back to life following a timeout with 3:53 left in the third quarter.

Central's Austin Fadely drives between Rock Ridge's Ayush Mayur, left, and Robert Byas-Smith, right, during boys basketball action Wednesday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We were kind of losing our composure. I just told the kids we’re going to score, shots are going to go in and then we’re going to get out of here with the W,” Falcons head coach Brandon Shields said.

“Sometimes I’m right.”

Wednesday night was one of those times.

Central came right out of the timeout and got a 3-pointer from the wing from junior forward Kobi Hoover and reclaimed the lead a minute later on a trey by Austin Fadely from the top of the arc.

The Falcons closed out the period with a 16-2 run to take a 38-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

Central's Bryan Davis goes up against a Rock Ridge defender during Wednesday night boys basketball action in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

“That’s mostly just desire to win,” said Hoover, who led the Falcons with 13 points to go along with seven rebounds. “We didn’t want to lose. We’ve been losing a lot of games here lately that we should win.”

Central never led by fewer than six points in the fourth quarter, though the Falcons did struggle at the free-throw line in the frame. Central made only 6 of 16 free throws in the final period.

The Phoenix pulled within 41-35 midway through the fourth period before back-to-back fast-break layups by Davis put Central back up 10. Rock Ridge came back to cut the Falcons’ lead to 46-40 after Deontay Compton’s traditional three-point play with 1:22 remaining, and four straight missed free throws by Central over the next 40 seconds kept it a two-possession game.

Hoover put the game out of reach with a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left.

“For about 10 minutes there all we had to do was make one [free throw] to get that thing from six to seven, from a two-possession to a three-possession game, and I would’ve felt good,” Shields said. “We just couldn’t get that one until it was out of reach, pretty much. That’s where the rust [showed]. You can’t really hide that.”

Fadely finished with 12 points for the Falcons, while Davis narrowly missed a double-double as he scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Monteral Jackson led Rock Ridge with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The Falcons shot 34.7 percent (17 for 49) from the floor in the win, while Rock Ridge shot made 15 of 48 shots (31.3 percent).

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com