Falcons sink 17 3-pointers in rout of Eagles

WOODSTOCK – Central boys basketball coach Brandon Shields struggled to find the words to explain the Falcons’ torrid start against visiting Clarke County on Thursday night.

After pausing for several moments and shaking his head, he settled for, “We just shot the heck out of the ball.”

The Falcons connected on their first seven 3-point attempts in the first period, built a comfortable halftime lead and rolled to a huge 95-52 rout of the Eagles in a game the school dedicated to raising awareness for childhood cancer.

Central made 17-pointers in the win, which ended a two-game losing streak and improved the Falcons to 4-3 overall and 1-1 against conference competition.

“We really just came in the gym (before the game), shot some shots early and everything was falling, and it translated into the game,” said Falcons senior Austin Fadely, who made his first four 3-pointers in the first period and finished with 17 points. “We just started to do the one extra pass every time and it got us open for beautiful 3-pointers every time. And everyone on the team was hitting. It was great.”

That hot shooting allowed the Falcons to build a 28-12 lead after the first period and a 54-29 lead at halftime. Central hit 12 of 20 3-pointers in the first half, a 60-percent mark. In all, Fadely and fellow senior Kobi Hoover had five 3-pointers, Josh Orndorff, Ian Pugh and Luke Estep each had two and Varsey Bright hit one.

Early on, it was all Fadely and Hoover. The duo scored Central’s first 21 points on seven consecutive treys and powered a 16-2 run to close out the opening period.

“We just came off that hard loss to George Mason (Tuesday) and we needed to get things going again, so we decided to come out here and play as hard as we could,” said Hoover, who led all scorers with 24 points, a career high.

“We were sharing the ball well and we were just pumped up and ready to go. Focused.”

Orndorff (11 points) kept things rolling the second period by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and knocking down two free throws to give the Falcons a 36-14 lead early in the frame.

Clarke County, playing just its second game of the year after being forced to delay its season due to the success of the school’s football team, cut the deficit to 13 points after a 3-pointer and fast-break bucket by Brett McDonald midway through the second period. But Central closed the half on a 12-0 run to take the 25-point lead going into the break.

“We are a team of runs. We have been all year,” Shields said. “When we’re hitting the 3, we’re tough. … A couple of those runs really just pushed things. When they were starting to come back I think that kind of put a little bit of a dagger in them. I mean it was tough to battle back and get hit with another run like that. I thought they were pretty resilient in the first half and kept coming at us but we were just shooting lights out tonight.”

Pugh – who had 12 points and four steals – triggered the run in the second half with a 3-pointer from the corner before Bright broke out for three consecutive buckets in the paint – including back-to-back layups in transition. Estep fittingly capped the surge with his first 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the period.

Bright provided the Falcons with a nice complement to the perimeter shooting all night, as he consistently got out on the fast-break and converted shots while slashing to the basket.

“The guys know that right when the rebound comes, I’m already down the court,” said Bright, who had a career-high 17 points to go along with four steals and a handful of assists off the bench.

“We were very unselfish. We passed the ball around, finding the opening with extra passes,” he added.

Central couldn’t keep up its pace in the third period, as the Eagles (0-2) out-scored the Falcons 14-13 in the frame but Central – led by Hoover’s 15 second-half points – outscored Clarke County 28-9 in the final period while hitting 8 of 11 shots from the field.

The Falcons ended the night shooting 55.6 percent (30 for 54) from the floor.

Defensively, Central used a combination of 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones to force Clarke County into 24 turnovers. The Falcons had 13 steals in the win.

“When we play in the zone we wanna be active in it,” Shields said. “I tell them all the time you actually have to play harder in the zone sometimes than the man if you wanna do it the right way. And we’re getting better at it and it’s probably something we’ll go to a little bit more often. But the zone looked really good tonight.”

Hayden Good led Clarke County with 14 points and six rebounds, while McDonald added 12 points. Julius Grant had 8 points and seven rebounds for the Eagles.

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