Generals hang tough in loss to Eagles
QUICKSBURG — The back of Stonewall Jackson’s warm-up shirts say ‘Trust The Process.’ On Friday night, the Generals showed what they’re capable of if they keep trusting the process.
The youthful Generals hung tough with East Rockingham for a half before falling 78-50 in Shenandoah District boys basketball action. It was the 11th straight win for the Eagles, who are in first place in the district.
“That’s who we are, and I really believe that’s who we are,” Stonewall Jackson coach David Fowler said. “This is a young team. This is five sophomores and two juniors. … That first half did pretty much show you who we are and what we can do.”
The Generals (2-14) used a 9-0 run to take an 11-8 lead with 2:18 left in the first period. Four different players scored during the run. The lead would be the last of the game for the Generals.
The Eagles (14-6) scored six straight points to take a 14-11 lead, but Stonewall Jackson’s Brendan Hoover drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 14 after one period.
“I thought Stonewall played a great game,” East Rockingham coach Carey Keyes said. “They came out with energy and were really getting after it, really attacking on offense. They did a great job against our press early, I thought, and scored off of that.”
The Eagles built a lead early in the second period, aided by a conventional three-point play by Logan Comer and a 3-pointer from Chris Rogers.
The Generals kept it close throughout most of the second period. The Eagles took a 31-24 edge on back-to-back baskets by Comer and Collin Dean, but a 3-pointer by Hoover cut the lead back to 31-27 with 2:10 left in the first half.
The two teams traded baskets until the Eagles ended the half with a flourish. A basket by Comer and a conventional three-point play by Javon Butler gave the Eagles a 39-29 lead at the half.
The Eagles started off strong in the third period scoring the first 12 points for a 51-29 lead with 4:35 left. The Generals turned the ball over eight times and managed only seven points in the third period.
“In the second half I thought we played much better, defensively especially,” Keyes said. “When we play great defense, it leads our offense and our transition game. I thought we got a lot more layups out in transition and just played more fluid in the second half.”
Fowler said the Generals began rushing and shooting too many 3-pointers, which led to turnovers and fast breaks for the Eagles.
“In the second half we started shooting it a little bit deeper, long rebounds turning into fast breaks,” Fowler said. “And the next thing you know, I told them in the locker room, it only takes two or three possessions and it’s a totally different ballgame — and that’s exactly what happened. A couple bad possessions, and the next thing you know you look up and you’re down by sixteen, seventeen.”
Fowler said he’s been trying to really emphasize patience with his players.
“What we’re preaching now is patience,” Fowler said. “You go back to look at film, you start realizing ‘hey, we’re shooting three-or-four-for-thirty from the three-point line.’ You’re shooting yourself out of games. … As long as we’re patient and we run our stuff, we take our time, we’ll be OK.”
The Eagles had four players in double figures, including Butler and Comer with 22 points each. Dean had 11 points, and Roger had 10 for the Eagles.
“We’re playing well, but we’ve got to keep it going,” Keyes said. “I told the guys, we can’t take a day off. We’ve got to get better every single day — that’s our motto. Whether it’s practice or a game, we want to be better tomorrow than we are today.”
Hoover had 16 points to lead the Generals. Kaelan Sorrells had 14 points and six rebounds and Tyler Patton added nine points. Dylan Davis, one of Stonewall Jackson’s top scorers, is no longer on the team, leaving the Generals with just seven players.
Fowler said the Generals hung tough for a quarter against Page County, another top team in the district, on Jan. 19. He said the young squad is starting to buy into what he’s teaching them.
“I don’t think they bought in at the beginning and certainly when I first started telling them ‘hey we’re not going to shoot 3’s like that anymore,” Fowler said. “… It’s been a process, but I think they have actually seen it the last couple games. I think (against) Wilson (Memorial, earlier this week) we did OK for a little bit, and then we come in here today against East Rock and they see it against them. You start believing a little bit, and I think we certainly started believing because we’re seeing it in action. Now we just got to sustain it, and put together a whole game instead of just a half.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org