Warren coach enjoys first win


FRONT ROYAL – Warren County’s boys’ basketball team gave new coach Tony Clark his first win as the Wildcats’ head man Monday in a 60-52 victory over visiting Conference 28 foe Brentsville before a good crowd.

Clark, also a football assistant at the high school, estimated the last time he celebrated a win was as the basketball coach at King George. He came to WCHS from Southern Virginia, where he was an assistant coach.

“That was five years ago, so this would be the first victory since then,” said Clark, whose team and Brentsville opened the season at the Wildcats’ gymnasium.

Clark used ball-controlling sets on offense and switched in and out of a zone defense, keeping Brentsville at bay – particularly in the second half.

“We just had too many turnovers in the first half,” the new Warren coach said.

After committing eight miscues in the second period, the Wildcats settled down. They gave the ball away just four times in the second half.

Even with the mistakes, Warren led 28-25 at the half. The Wildcats outscored the Tigers 32-27 in the second half.

In the second 16 minutes, Brentsville held the second of two leads for the whole game, 32-30. But sophomore Robert Kenney tied the game and then Robert Rutherford scored a bucket and completed the old-fashioned 3-point play. Finally, teammate Rob Ford hit his second consecutive 3 for the 39-32 lead with 2:29 to go in the third quarter.

The Tigers got within 3 on a score by Michael Harner, but Marqwon Haley’s basket kept the lead at five as the period ended.

Even after a Clyde Ritchie steal and subsequent layup made it 51-44 with 3:26 left in the game, The Tigers would not lie down. They got to 55-51 with 1:04 to go on a Michael Harner score.

With the score 57-52, the Wildcats scored the last three points from the free-throw line to ice the game.

“They’re a nice team,” said Brentsville coach Joe Ford. “(Ford, Ritchie and Robert Rutherford) are good players for them. We’ll get a chance to see them at our place.”

Junior Cameron Ford scored a team-high 16 points, including three 3-point shots from beyond the arc. Robert Rutherford had a double-double. He scored 11 points and hauled down 10 boards.

“Rebounding was something I got to do last year when I played power forward. It’s a little technique. You have to know your positioning, but it’s also about desire,” Rutherford said.

Brentsville earned a game-high 18 points from Konnor Pfeiffer, an Evangeline Christian transfer.

“He did a good job against us in the first half, but we switched to a more even front in the zone and that helped,” said Clark.

The junior guard offered up just one basket in the fourth period.