Jenkins sparks Strasburg past Rappahannock

Kelsey Jenkins

STRASBURG — Strasburg struggled to a six-point win over Rappahannock County in the first game of the season, but junior guard Kelsey Jenkins made sure that didn’t happen again on Tuesday night.

Jenkins had a big first quarter to get the Rams off and running en route to a 51-29 Bull Run District girls basketball victory over the Panthers.

“I’m really, really happy my shot was on tonight,” Jenkins said. “We moved the ball really, really well and my teammates passed me the ball, and they helped out a lot.”

Jenkins scored 11 of her career-high 21 points in the opening quarter to help give the Rams a nine-point edge.

Jenkins and Rachel Harriman each scored a basket to start the game, and then Jenkins hit back-to-back 3-pointers. She then scored a fast-break layup off a steal and pass from Haley Bischoff and made a technical foul free throw to give the Rams a quick 13-1 lead with 3:14 left in the opening quarter.

“At the beginning of the game I was working on my shot,” Jenkins said. “I was lifting it up, and I was trusting my shot. I was just trusting in it and it was starting to go in.”

The Rams (8-5, 5-4 Bull Run) held a 13-1 lead before the Panthers had even attempted a shot. Rappahannock County didn’t attempt a shot until there were three minutes left in the opening quarter, as Strasburg’s defense gave them lots of trouble. The Panthers turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as Strasburg held the Panthers scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting and 10 more turnovers to take a 22-5 lead at the half.

Rapphannock County (1-11, 1-8 Bull Run) started the second half off strong. A free throw by Julia Estes, a basket by Kathryn Fisher and a 3-pointer by Kayla Robey cut the lead to 22-11 with 6:32 left in the third quarter.

Strasburg’s Kerigan Jenkins hit back-to-back baskets and Emily Melnikoff hit a jumper to push the lead back to 18.

“I think Kerigan Jenkins played well inside for us tonight,” Strasburg coach Joel Morgan said. “I thought she really gave us some big baskets in there. She made a couple plays right there [in the third quarter] that was big for us. I had taken a timeout right there, kind of had to get our kids going a little bit. They responded, I give them some credit. They responded, and I think that came off of Kerigan hit a couple shots. Then I think everything started flowing a little bit better for us.”

The Rams led comfortably the rest of the way. Strasburg won 30-24 against the Panthers in the first game of the season, and Morgan said the difference on Tuesday was the shots were falling.

“Looking back on that night I thought we did a lot of things well, but we shot 8-for-60 and tonight we just shot the ball better,” Morgan said. “I think we did execute better tonight against their zone. They played us that 1-2-2 zone last time, and I thought we executed much better tonight.”

The Rams were coming off a big win against William Monroe last Friday. Strasburg scored 19 points in the fourth quarter in that victory and it has given the Rams some momentum.

“We had a good win against William Monroe, especially since we didn’t beat them last time in overtime,” Kelsey Jenkins said. “I think it just carried over into this game and we’re ready for more [Wednesday against Morefield].”

The Panthers were led by Estes with nine points. Kelsey Jenkins had two assists and two steals to go with her points. Kerigan Jenkins had 12 points and four rebounds, and Melnikoff had six points, five rebounds, five steals and two assists. Bischoff had six rebounds, three assists and three steals for Strasburg.

“I think we can play well enough on defense, if we can continue to grow on the offensive end and get better there, I like our chances to maybe pull, whether you want to call it an upset or something like that, down the stretch,” Morgan said. “I like our chances on defense, if we can just put together some points on the offensive end we can compete with some people really well.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com