Young Generals fall in overtime
QUICKSBURG – Stonewall Jackson and Riverheads are both young teams, struggling to find some victories. On Monday night, Riverheads showed it had learned from some of its close games this year.
The Gladiators pulled out a 56-54 Shenandoah District boys basketball overtime victory over the Generals.
“I tell them all the time it’s the small things,” Stonewall Jackson coach David Fowler said. “A mistake here, a mistake there. A turnover here, a bad shot – it was the small things. I can tell from the way they look in the locker room, they knew they let one get away from them. It’s tough, but I’m glad to see some emotion.”
The Generals scored first in the overtime. After a missed shot by Riverheads, Stonewall Jackson’s Dylan Davis hit a 3-pointer to give the Generals a 50-47 lead just 19 seconds into overtime.
The Gladiators (2-6) responded with a 7-0 run. Riverheads’ 6-foot-5 center Austin Craft scored inside the paint. Brett Hostetler hit a 3-pointer, and Drew Bond scored inside to push the lead to 54-50 with 1:46 left in overtime.
Riverheads coach Chad Coffey said his team played in an overtime game earlier this season and didn’t score a point, after giving up a quick basket in the extra frame. He said he was very happy with the way his players responded against the Generals.
“It looked like you very easily could have hung your head and instead guys kept their poise,” Coffey said. “We came down and took advantage of our possessions. Took it possession by possession in overtime, and did a good job at just chipping away at that lead they got.”
Stonewall Jackson’s Kaelan Sorrells scored to cut the lead to 54-52, and after a missed Riverheads free throw the Generals had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead in the final minute. The Generals turned the ball over with 15 seconds left, but Riverheads again missed a foul shot.
The Generals (2-10) had one last chance, but a charging call against them gave Riverheads the ball with four seconds left. Two free throws by Riverheads’ Drew Bond sealed the win.
“I felt like there was no doubt that we wanted it,” Fowler said. “I think we just had some young mistakes. We’re a young team, and I just think the young mistakes caught up with us tonight.”
Coffey said his team has been in many close games this season, and he was pleased with how they learned from those close losses.
“The kids are learning to play in close games,” Coffey said. “… We kept our composure. Like I said to start overtime we didn’t hang our heads. We just kept plugging along and doing what we practiced and trained them to do. So they did a good job of executing.”
The Generals took an early lead as their full-court press forced Riverheads into turnovers. In the second period the Generals shot the ball well at the start. They hit their first six shots, including a basket from five different players. The surge helped Stonewall Jackson build a 24-14 lead with 5:01 left in the first half.
The Gladiators used an 11-3 run to cut the lead to 27-25 at the half. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Riverheads’ Bond and Brett Hostetler pushed the Gladiators back into the lead early in the third period.
Riverheads held a 39-35 lead entering the fourth period. The two teams went back and forth throughout much of the fourth period. A basket by Sorrells and two free throws by Nick Dotson gave the Generals a 47-45 edge with 1:29 left in regulation.
Riverheads’ Dakota Cave tied the game on a basket with 1:14 left. The two teams traded turnovers down the stretch, and Dotson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark sending the game into overtime.
Riverheads was led by Craft with 16 points. Hostetler had 15 points, and Bond had 11 for the Gladiators. The team started late this season due to the football team advancing to the state final, and Coffey said the team, which has only one player back from last year, is starting to play better and better.
“We’ve been in every game at halftime, except for the first one against East Rock,” Coffey said. “… Some games we just hit the wall. We didn’t have basketball legs, and we just hit the wall. Other games youthful mistakes. We’re starting to minimize those, and the composure piece that I talked about before is starting to show up. Hopefully we’ll continue to develop and more wins will come in the future.”
Davis led the Generals with 21 points, while Sorrells had 12. The Generals have no seniors on this year’s squad, with three juniors and five sophomores. Fowler said he was happy with his team’s effort, and he knows with a young team it will just take time to see more wins.
“We are getting better,” Fowler said. “Our motto this season is trust the process, and it’s going to be a process. As long as we’re seeing improvement, as long as we’re seeing emotion, those are points to build off of.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com