Slow start dooms Generals in district loss

QUICKSBURG — Wilson Memorial wanted to speed up the game against Stonewall Jackson on Tuesday night and the plan worked.

The Generals got off to a slow start and it was too much too overcome in a 71-43 loss to the Green Hornets in Shenandoah District boys basketball action.

“We knew that Stonewall had an away game (Monday) night at (Stuarts) Draft,” Wilson Memorial coach Scott Crist said. “We were trying to take advantage of them maybe being a little bit tired. So we started in a press, got the pace picked up some and then was able to go from there.”

The Green Hornets scored the first 10 points of the game, including taking advantage of five Stonewall Jackson turnovers.

Stonewall Jackson coach David Fowler said that he didn’t feel his team was tired, but they were rushing and in too much of a hurry against the press.

“They were rushing. They we’re excited, and came out a little too over ambitious and got off to a slow start,” Fowler said. “…I told them in the locker room 10-0 run at the beginning of the game, that can affect you, that can hurt you. It could have been a lot different game if we didn’t get off to a slow start.”

The Generals rallied late in the first period to cut the deficit to 16-8 after the first eight minutes. Stonewall Jackson’s Kaelan Sorrells had six straight points to end the period.

It was all Green Hornets in the second period. They scored 27 points and shot 66.7 percent from the floor (10-for-15) in the second period. They were able to build a 43-17 halftime lead.

They had very balanced scoring throughout the game. They had seven different players score in the opening half, none of which were in double figures at halftime.

“We have been relying on a couple players our first six games, but we made an emphasis tonight before the game to make sure we got everybody involved,” Crist said. “We can’t lean on just a couple players. We did have more balance in our scoring tonight, which is good.”

The Green Hornets (3-4, 1-0 Shenandoah) had nine different players score in the contest.

The Generals (2-6, 0-2 Shenandoah) rallied in the third period. Stonewall Jackson trimmed the lead to 20 points to end the third period, led by 10 points from Dylan Davis.

“I told them coming out in the second half you can’t get it all in one shot, chip away. It can’t be a home run,” Fowler said. “We can get back into this if we just chip away at it. I think they put together probably one of the best quarters we’ve had all year.”

Fowler said the Generals did a better job of running their offense in the third period.

“When we run our stuff, we’re perfectly fine, and that quarter showed it,” Fowler said. “We were patient. We got the looks we wanted, and we ran our stuff on offense and defense.”

The Green Hornets responded with a 9-0 run to start the fourth period to seal the victory. Wilson Memorial had four players in double figures. Justin Kyle led the way with 15 points, while Zay Brown had 12. Austin Townsend and Ryan Pierce each had 10 points for the Green Hornets.

Crist said his team lost eight seniors from last year’s squad and they have a completely new coaching staff, so it’s been a real learning process for everyone.

“We’re a new coaching staff, so we’re doing things totally different than the way the previous staff done it offensively and defensively,” Crist said. “It’s been a huge learning curve, and we’re still learning. I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made, but we’ve got a long way to go. We’re only seven games in, so we got plenty of games to try and figure it out.”

Davis led the Generals with 18 points, while Sorrells had 12. Fowler is also a first-year coach with a very young squad. The Generals have no seniors on the team, with one freshman and four sophomores.

The Generals don’t play again until Dec. 30 at Central, and Fowler said he thinks the break will be good for his team.

“I think the best thing for us right now is we’re going into Christmas break,” Fowler said. “We’re going to take a couple days off and then we’ll get back and get ready for Central. I thin it will be good for the guys just to get an opportunity to regroup — some reflection time really.”

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