First-period surge carries Falcons past Rams

STRASBURG – Things couldn’t have started much better for Central or much worse for Strasburg in their game on Thursday night.

The Falcons used their full-court press to blitz the Rams and held on for a 58-39 girls basketball victory.

Central out-scored Strasburg 29-4 in the first period, aided by 18 turnovers from the Rams.

“That was probably one of the best starts we’ve had all season in all aspects rebounding, shooting the ball, playing defense,” Central coach Bryan Scott said. “That first quarter was probably some of the best ball we’ve played. … By far that was probably the best eight minutes of basketball we’ve played all year.”

Central scored the first 23 points of the game, and all five starters scored during the stretch.

Strasburg’s Kelsey Jenkins made two free throws with 2:56 left in the first period to make the score 23-2. Central responded with six more points, on baskets by Cianne Fields, Tamra Scott and Ayanna Strother.

“I don’t care who you’re playing when you turn the ball over 18 times in a quarter, you’re going to dig yourself a hole,” Strasburg coach Darin Jenkins said. “And when you do it against a good team it’s almost impossible to overcome.”

Strasburg’s Haley Bischoff made the team’s first field goal with 10 seconds left in the opening period.

The Rams (8-12) showed some fight the rest of the way. Strasburg out-scored Central 10-4 in the second period, as the Falcons had 11 turnovers in the eight-minute frame.

Strasburg was able to cut the lead to 33-18 early in the third period on baskets by Bischoff and Kelsey Jenkins with 5:51 left.

“After the first quarter I thought we did a good job,” Darin Jenkins said. “We settled down, and I was pleased with our effort. We didn’t quit. There was a lot of fight. It was a rivalry game and those are always tough. But I’m proud of the girls and the way we handled ourselves and was able to maintain there for a while.”

The Falcons (18-1) responded with an 11-4 run. Central’s Brooklyn Pumphrey hit a 3-pointer, which ended a span of 7:55 without a basket for the Falcons, to start the spurt.

The Rams cut the lead to 46-30 early in the fourth period on a Kelsey Jenkins jumper, but Central led by at least 18 the rest of the way.

“I don’t know where we went, but somewhere along the line we lost some intensity,” Bryan Scott said. “We still ended up with a pretty decent lead, and it’s always good to get a win but somewhere that intensity went out the window. I don’t like that at this part of the season. We’re getting ready to get into tournament play and postseason play. We want to be clicking on all cylinders.”

Bryan Scott said that his team needs to play like they did in the first period for the entire game.

“It seemed like we did just enough to win instead of putting it away like we should have done,” Bryan Scott said. “I can’t take anything away from Strasburg – it’s a big rivalry. The Jenkins girl started hitting shots. I can’t take much away from them. It’s a win, but I ain’t real happy about it.”

The Rams were led by Kelsey Jenkins with 20 points, and Bischoff with nine points and seven rebounds.

Central was led by Tamra Scott with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Fields with 11 points and seven steals. Strother had 10 points for the Falcons.

Bryan Scott said he was happy to have three players score in double figures.

“When we put three, four players in double figures you’re doing something there. That’s team basketball,” Bryan Scott said. “We definitely did it in the first quarter, the other three it just wasn’t quite there.”

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