Bulldogs cruise past Generals

QUICKSBURG – Luray had been struggling with shooting in its last few girls basketball games, but on Friday night everything clicked for the team.

The Bulldogs used a solid shooting performance to pull out a 65-37 Shenandoah District victory over Stonewall Jackson.

“We shot the ball really well tonight,” Luray coach Chris Ponn said. “We haven’t been shooting the ball well. That’s a credit to the kids. They’re good girls. They’ve been working real hard in practice to get their game back together. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”

The Bulldogs were 24-for-57 (42.1 percent) from the floor. They opened up a lead right from the start.

Luray’s Meghan Seaman and Michaela Nichols hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start a 15-3 run to begin the game.

The Generals (5-9, 0-7 Shenandoah) were able to claw their way back into it as they held the Bulldogs to only one basket over the last 3:19 of the first period. A driving layup by Stonewall Jackson’s Sara Streett, two free throws by Emily Dodson and a basket by Kelsey Hines cut the lead to 18-11 after the first period.

Dodson scored inside the paint to cut the lead to 18-13 15 seconds into the second period, but the Bulldogs responded with a 17-3 run.

“We had a really nice stretch there at the end of the first quarter into the second,” Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said. “Then you go through four or five minutes where you don’t score, and then what happens is you get frustrated and you start trying to do some things you can’t do. And then they went on a 17-3 run.”

Luray (10-5, 3-4) led by at least 20 points throughout the second half.

Burner said he was most disappointed with his team’s hustle in the loss.

“I thought we played hard the whole night, but I thought that they made more hustle plays than we did, and that’s something that bugs me,” Burner said. “That drives me crazy. I don’t like to be out-hustled. I don’t care how talented you are, if you get out-hustled that’s not good.”

Burner said a big problem for his team is not having enough confidence on offense.

“We still don’t believe in ourselves enough offensively to where we are consistent in attacking,” Burner said. “They had a 15-3 run and a 17-3 run that were all off of our offense, where they got run-outs. And it was just us being rushed or not making a good decision. We’ve got to get to a point where we believe in ourselves offensively to where we don’t let those turnovers kill us.”

One bright spot for the Generals was the play of Dodson, who finished with 14 points. The 5-foot-10 freshman center hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth period.

“I thought Emily Dodson had a little bit better game in terms of attacking the rim,” Burner said. “… She’s a good shooter. We’ve been trying to get her to step out. We’ve been trying to get her to step out and make those plays. It’s something she’s not great at, in terms of learning how to do it yet. It’s not something she’s had a lot of practice at, but she’s a really good shooter. So when we get her a chance we’re going to try to get her to do it more and more.”

Nichols led the Bulldogs with 27 points, while Katelyn Keyser had 11. Ponn said he was very happy to get a win in the district.

“It was a good win for us,” Ponn said. “Any time you can win in our district no matter what night it is and who you’re playing it’s always helpful.”

The Generals still have a tough schedule ahead, including games with Page County and Stuarts Draft next week. The Generals are in the same conference as Luray and Riverheads, who they lost to by 11 on Monday.

“What we’ve tried to say all along is that our focus is for the postseason, and we’re trying to get better every day to get to the postseason,” Burner said. “… We know Riverheads and Luray are sort of our measuring stick as far as what we’re going to do in Conference (44). So after this week we know we got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get better.”

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