Central goes cold in loss

Central's Brady Baker penetrates inside and goes up for a shot while William Monroe's O'Brien Morton tries to reject it during first quarter boys basketball action Monday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily
Central's Joseph McConkey drives between William Monroe's Jeffrey Early, left, and David Smith, right, during second quarter boys basketball action Monday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily
Central's Bryan Davis gets fouled inside by Willam Monroe's Jeffrey Early during second quarter boys basketball action Monday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily
Central's Austin Fadely goes up under the basket for an easy bucket as William Monroe's Anthony Terry looks on during first quarter boys basketball action Monday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Central’s boys basketball team simply couldn’t find the bottom of the net against visiting William Monroe on Monday night.

The Falcons shot 25.6 percent (11 for 43) from the field against the Green Dragons and were cold from beyond the 3-point arc. Central’s dry spell from the floor was enough to propel William Monroe to a 55-34 Bull Run District win.

“We couldn’t score the ball,” Falcons head coach Brandon Shields said. “I thought we left a lot of points on the board in crucial moments. We had a couple of swings there where we missed a shot in the paint, they come down and hit an and-1, they come down and hit a 3. I think we had one sequence where that happened back to back and that’s like a 10-point swing right there. You can play the ‘could’ve happened’ game all the time, but they just beat us.”

William Monroe (10-3, 7-2 Bull Run), finally healthy after a season-long bout with injuries and illness, was efficient on offense against the Falcons, who tried various defensive looks in an attempt to stymie the Dragons. William Monroe shot 50 percent from the field through the first three quarters before substituting liberally in the fourth, and hit 20 of 43 shots (46.5 percent) from the field overall.

“They out-executed us on the offensive end,” Shields said. “We threw a bunch of different things at them and they handled them all. They shot the ball well and they cleaned up the glass a little bit inside as well when they did miss. They did a good job of kind of getting second-chance points and free throws. We just didn’t have an answer for it.”

Central (6-7, 4-5) kept things close early, as the Falcons trailed 11-6 after the first quarter. Neither team scored a point over the final three minutes of the period.

William Monroe opened things up in the second period, starting the frame with a 7-1 run. Senior Keegan Wolford started the spurt by turning his steal into a conventional three-point play on the other end, and Jeff Early and Kam’ron McCain added buckets in the paint to give the Dragons an 18-9 lead.

Central closed the gap to four points following free throws by Joey McConkey and a pull-up jumper in transition by Austin Fadely, but William Monroe closed the first half on a 13-3 run and took a 31-16 lead into halftime.

The Falcons shot just 23.8 percent in the first half, including an 0 for 7 mark from beyond the 3-point arc. Central finished the game 3 for 17 from 3.

“We really emphasized that in practice the other day, that we’ve got to close out on the guys. We still gave them a couple open looks, they just missed them,” Dragons head coach Mike Maynard said. “It was just one of those nights. Sometimes your shots just aren’t going to fall. But we’ve got to get better at that because we’re leaving too many kids open for shots.”

The Dragons slowly extended their lead in the third period, outscoring Central 13-10 in the frame and taking a 44-26 lead into the fourth quarter following Anthony Pritchett’s buzzer-beating 3.

Central cut William Monroe’s lead to 14 points after Fadely’s 3-pointer from the corner with 4:15 to play, but the Falcons mustered only three points the rest of the way.

Fadely, who Maynard said was made a point of emphasis for William Monroe’s defense, led Central with 12 points and three assists. Bryan Davis had seven points and a team-high five rebounds, while Sam Barbour added six points and four boards.

Early, a 6-foot-4 forward, finished with 15 points to lead the Dragons, while McCain chipped in 12 points and Anthony Terry 10 for William Monroe.

“There’s only so much sometimes that your body can physically do,” said Shields, whose team faced a height disadvantage against the Dragons. “I thought we played hard. I thought we tried to be in the right spots. We had a couple slow rotations here and there, but for the most part I thought we were there. They use the wingspans to their advantage and they made plays. We didn’t.”

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

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