Davis’ big night helps Falcons past Generals

QUICKSBURG — Central’s success on the basketball court this season has typically hinged on the success of the Falcons’ 3-point shot. But the Falcons had to venture away from the long-range game against rival Stonewall Jackson on Tuesday night.

With the Generals preventing Central from getting the looks to warrant a consistent 3-point barrage, the Falcons instead opted to attack the basket to open up some opportunities for players in the paint. Freshman Bryan Davis, who made his first varsity start on Tuesday night, was the beneficiary of the adjustment. Davis erupted for a career-high 23 points as the Falcons rallied late to beat Stonewall Jackson, 51-49.

“Usually we kind of go as the 3 goes and tonight they did a good job taking it away,” Falcons head coach Brandon Shields said. “… So we had to chip the game plan and just decided to drive it. That’s our kind of thing. We like to drive the ball. We like to put teams in situations where they have to kind of rotate and close out to the ball. We just kept driving it and they kept helping up and Austin [Fadely] did a great job of dropping it off to that bottom guy, who was Bryan tonight.”

Davis, who also snagged 11 rebounds in the win, got consistent open looks at the basket against Stonewall Jackson (0-5) due in large part to the driving ability of Fadely.

Fadely, who finished with 16 points and six assists, connected with Davis on multiple occasions in the second half, leading to Davis’ 13-point outburst over the final two quarters as Central rallied from a 30-27 halftime deficit.

“I thought they had us in the first half. I’m not going to lie. But Austin Fadely kept giving me the ball, kept dishing me the ball at the right times and my teammates made the right plays at the right times,” Davis said.

“[Fadely’s] very shifty. He can move with the ball and when they start keying on him they leave us open. He saw that and he just dished the ball.”

Stonewall Jackson led for most of Tuesday night’s game and carried a 41-37 advantage into the fourth period before the Falcons gained their first lead of the night with an 8-0 run to start the final quarter. Fadely scored four points during the spurt, and Davis and Sam Barbour added buckets to give the Falcons (5-4) a 45-41 lead.

Four straight points by Generals sophomore Ian Pugh — who led Stonewall with 21 points — tied the game up with 4:15 to play, and the two teams traded baskets as Central trailed 49-47 with less than three minutes left.

Davis gave the Falcons the lead for good when he converted a traditional 3-point play, and Fadely added a free throw with 13.3 seconds left to give Central a 51-49 lead.

Stonewall Jackson called a timeout with eight seconds remaining, but Kory Somers’ (12 points) contested 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed.

“It’s kind of the story of our season — the ones that need to take control, that we want to take that shot, they didn’t. And we were too passive,” Generals head coach Patrick Smoot said. “We have to have somebody that says, ‘This is my shot, I’m going to do this.’ We have to find out who our leaders are. That play kind of shows what our whole season has been. We’re a team that doesn’t know what we’re supposed to do.”

The game couldn’t have started any better for Stonewall Jackson, which hit nine of its first 10 shots from the field en route to a 21-15 lead at the end of the first period. The Generals, who got 10 points from Pugh in the frame, led by as much as 11 in the frame but Davis’ nine points helped keep the Falcons close.

“We talk all the time about trying to get them ready to play and not to sit back and let somebody else bring it to them. I thought we came out with great energy and somewhere along the line it fizzled. We didn’t hold onto it,” Smoot said.

The Generals ended the night with a 43.2-percent (19 for 44) mark from the floor, while Central shot 35.2 percent (19 for 54) and was 1 for 12 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“Honestly we didn’t do a good job defensively all night until maybe the last possession of the game,” Shields said. “We were very lackadaisical defensively for most of the game. We had a couple stretches here and there where I thought we played hard, but for the most part we just weren’t tuned in the way we needed to be to make stops. And they hit shots. They hit a couple pull-ups in our face. Pugh shot the ball very well. They bodied us on the glass a little bit as well.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com