Central finds answers for Stonewall in win

WOODSTOCK – Stonewall Jackson’s boys basketball team made a couple runs at Central during Wednesday night’s county rivalry game, but each time the Falcons had an answer.

Central used a key run of its own in the second period to create a sizeable halftime lead, then held off a Generals push in the fourth period to pick up an 88-69 victory.

“I thought we did a good job of staying in control no matter what was kind of going on, as far as the score was concerned,” said Shields, who expressed some disappointment in what he called a “lack of composure” during the game that led to a pair of technical fouls in the second half. “I thought we responded with our runs as well. We did a good job kind of countering whatever they did.”

The Falcons, who entered Wednesday night having lost three of their last four games, led 25-20 after Stonewall ended the first quarter with a run to halve a 10-point deficit before opening the game up with a decisive 12-2 spurt midway through the second period.

Stonewall Jackson pulled within 29-24 on back-to-back buckets by junior Kaelan Sorrells – who led all players with 24 points – with 5:55 left in the first half, but 3-pointers by Falcons seniors Kobi Hoover and Austin Fadely and a pull-up jumper by senior Ian Pugh pushed Central’s lead to 13 points in a span of one minute.

The Falcons extended that lead to 45-30 heading into halftime.

“Effort was there,” Generals coach David Fowler said. “I mean they answered here and there. Basketball’s a game of runs. I think the run that hurt us the most was probably the second quarter. They beat us by 10 in the second quarter.”

Behind 9 points by Sorrells, Stonewall kept pace with the Falcons in the third period and pulled within 64-53 on buckets by Nick Dotson and Tyler Patton early in the fourth quarter.

But Falcons sophomore Varsey Bright – who got the start Wednesday night after serving as Central’s electric sixth man through the first eight games – jumpstarted an 11-5 run with a driving bucket through contact. Pugh added 7 points during the run, including a 3-pointer from the left corner that gave the Falcons a 77-58 lead with 2:55 to play.

Stonewall never pulled closer than 16 points for the remainder of the game.

In addition to Bright, fellow sophomore Luke Estep got a rare start for the Falcons on Wednesday night, a result of a couple players being late to practice during Christmas break, Shields said. Bright responded by scoring a career high 23 points, while Estep added 15 points and eight rebounds.

“I thought Varsey was a big spark for us. I think that’s another career high for him,” Shields said. “He’s one of the best players I’ve seen in transition as far as getting out and going. Ian did a great job of finding him as well.”

Pugh added 18 points and five steals for the Falcons, who forced 22 turnovers in the win.

“I think we’re at our best when we get stops, however rare that was tonight, and get out in transition,” Shields said. “When we stop people and rebound we’re good … but we’ve gotta get better at just stopping people, staying in front of your man.”

Central shot 50 percent from the floor (32 for 64), while enjoying a 42-31 advantage on the boards. The Generals shot 39.1 percent (25 for 64) and were 15 of 17 from the free-throw line.

Dylan Davis had 13 points and six rebounds for Stonewall, while Dotson added 10 points and seven boards.

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