Falcons soar past Generals
QUICKSBURG – Central’s boys basketball team needed a spark on offense during the early stages of Tuesday’s road game against county rival Stonewall Jackson. So the Falcons turned to their defense.
Central switched from man-to-man to an extended half-court zone in the second period to jumpstart a decisive run late in the first half, and point guard Ian Pugh erupted for 22 of his game-high 26 points in the second half as the Falcons rolled to an 84-45 non-conference victory.
“We got in the passing lanes, tried to make them make some decisions,” Falcons coach Brandon Shields said of Central’s defense, which forced 17 Stonewall turnovers. “They were just way too comfortable and we weren’t pressuring the ball well enough, and we wanted to try to speed them up. We weren’t getting anything going offensively so we tried to get some things going on the defensive end first to kind of spark us. It paid off. I mean we did a good job rotating, flying around there, getting deflections, so it ended up being OK for us.”
The Falcons (3-1) managed just 12 points in a fast-paced first period but closed the second period on a 14-1 run to take a 33-21 lead into halftime. Central, which had five players score at least 10 points, scored over 20 points in each of the final three quarters to top 80 points for the third straight game.
Central shot 51.5 percent (35 for 68) from the floor in the win, including a 62.5-percent mark from the field in the second half.
“We’re shooting the ball well, we’re shooting the ball with confidence,” said Shields, whose team hit eight 3-pointers. “We’re not big but we are not afraid to shoot it.”
Stonewall Jackson (1-2) led 14-12 after the first period and held a 20-19 edge with six minutes left in the first half before Central went on its run.
The Falcons scored 12 unanswered points to push their lead quickly to 31-20 late in the second quarter following a fast-break layup by sophomore speedster Varsey Bright, who scored 7 of his 11 points in the second period. Central’s run included 5 consecutive second-chance points.
Stonewall first-year coach David Fowler said it was the Generals’ lack of effort that led to their second straight loss.
“I don’t know if it was lack of preparation on my part or if it was just something happened with them, but they just showed zero effort,” Fowler said. “I don’t think it had anything to do with conditioning or anything like that, I just think they stopped working for it. I mean there was simple plays they just didn’t make.”
Central out-rebounded the Generals 40-25 in the win, led by senior Kobi Hoover’s 15 rebounds.
“We had them in height, obviously, and we were just working a lot harder than they were, I think, and just grabbing the rebounds,” said Hoover, who also had 10 points.
“We weren’t making a lot of shots but we just kept getting the ball back, so all those second-chance shots is what really helped us out.”
Central carried a 12-point lead into halftime before Pugh, who played for Stonewall last season, exploded for 22 second-half points against his former team, as he repeatedly sliced through the Generals’ defense for driving layups.
“I just felt confident in myself to be able to score and just decided to take it to the hole,” said Pugh, who hit 9 of 11 shots in the second half. “Someone needed to step up and sometimes I had to do it, I guess.”
The Generals rallied from a 22-point deficit in the third quarter to cut the Falcons’ lead to 50-37 via a 14-5 run that featured 6 points apiece from juniors Kaelan Sorrells and Tyler Patton. But Pugh came right back with two straight driving layups to help send Central into the final period with a 56-37 lead.
Twenty of Pugh’s 26 points came in the paint, as he faced no defensive help around the basket after beating his defender off the dribble.
“I saw that there was no help on the rim and the (defender) … was on my hip so I was able to take it to the hole every time,” Pugh said.
Stonewall, which shot 36.7 percent (18 for 49) from the floor, was out-scored 28-8 in the fourth quarter.
“I kept telling them one play at a time, chip away at it, no home runs. We don’t need big plays, we just need some plays,” Fowler said. “And they bought into (it) for a minute and then right back out of it, back up to 40 (point deficit).”
Central senior Austin Fadely finished with 12 points, while Jimmy Rodriguez had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Falcons. Bright had three steals in addition to his 11 points.
Sorrells led Stonewall with 18 points and six rebounds, while Patton added 13 points. Brendan Hoover had 5 points and six rebounds for the Generals.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com