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Central still trying to find its way after late start to season

Central's Samuel Shifflett rejects a shot by Stonewall's Michael Dorman during second half action Wednesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

QUICKSBURG — Central has only had a complete boys basketball team for a little over a week, so it’s no surprise that the Falcons have been a little up and down to start the season.

Due to the football team making a run in the postseason, some of the players didn’t start practicing with the boys basketball team until Nov. 20.

“We’re still trying to get some continuity together collectively as a team,” Central boys basketball coach Jeff Whittle said after Wednesday’s 67-37 victory over Stonewall Jackson. “It was tough playing back-to-back (games) to start the season.”

The Falcons lost their season-opener to East Rockingham on Tuesday, but bounced back Wednesday against Stonewall Jackson.

Central led by nine at halftime and pulled away in the second half. Whittle said he was happy with the energy level his team had against Stonewall Jackson.

Central's Bryan Davis, left, and Stonewall's Drew Binion try to get hands on a loose ball during first half action Wednesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

“I thought we came out with a lot more energy, a lot more enthusiasm collectively as a team,” Whittle said. “I thought we came out a little bit flat (Tuesday). But I thought the energy was there, and I thought we turned it up in the second half.”

The Falcons did struggle with their shooting, especially from 3-point range. Whittle said part of that is that the team needs to move the ball better together, attack the basket more and take high-percentage shots if the 3-pointers aren’t falling.

One real bright spot for the Falcons has been the play of center Bryan Davis. The senior had 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Generals.

“I thought Bryan Davis has played back-to-back pretty good games for us,” Whittle said. “He just plays pretty fluid. He’s so under control when he gets the ball in there. And he’s finishing pretty well for us.”

In the victory over the Generals, the Falcons had eight players score. Seniors Varsey Bright and Luke Estep each had 13 points.

Stonewall Jackson's Brendan Hoover drives inside the lane as Central's Varsey Bright defends during first half action Wednesday night in Quicksburg. The Generals open Shenandoah District play this week. Rich Cooley/Daily

Whittle also said he was happy with the play of his bench, including Mason Marston, Dominic Strother and T.J. Williams.

The Generals started off their season with a victory over Rappahannock County on Tuesday, before the loss to Central on Wednesday.

Stonewall Jackson senior Nick Dotson had a game-high 16 points, while Brendan Hoover added 10 against Central.

First-year Stonewall Jackson coach Jim Sanders said he’s been happy with the progress his team has shown.

“I’m asking an awful lot,” Sanders said. “I’m trying to teach them different things and they’re learning. I’ve been really pleased with them. I’m having to teach them a lot of things that I want to do, and how I do it and get them to understand different concepts. They’ve been great.”

Stonewall head coach Jim Sanders give instructions from the bench during their game against Central Wednesday night at Quicksburg.Rich Cooley/Daily

Sanders said the players are still trying to find their roles on the team. Sanders said he believes they have real potential.

“I think there are a lot of them that are more capable of things than what they think they are,” Sanders said. “And it’s something that it takes some time for them to learn. And it would be nice for people to get instantaneous confidence. But confidence for me comes from repetition. And that’s something that we’re working on every day — learning how to do things the right way.”

The Generals play at Strasburg today.

Sanders said that he wants the players to keep improving with each game.

“We can sit there and fantasize about making progress and stuff, but I want to make real progress — and I think they have,” Sanders said. “There is no doubt in my mind that these guys have gotten a lot better from when I first met them. We got a lot more ground to cover. And I’m prety sure they’re interested in doing that. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Falcons have their third road game this week, tonight, when they play at Page County.

Whittle said he was happy with the way his team has been rebounding the ball, but they need to play better defensively than they did in the first two games.

“Defensively the key is bring the same kind of energy, but being under control,” Whittle said. “We need to do the little things, closing out, on-ball defense keeping them in front, and then off-ball (defense) help and recover.”