Seniors spark Generals to victory over Falcons
QUICKSBURG — Stonewall Jackson’s girls basketball team has youth and experience this season. On Wednesday night the experience showed late in the game.
The Generals, led by a group of seniors, escaped with a 43-38 overtime victory over Shenandoah County rival Central. Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said it was nice to see the seniors making big plays late in the game.
“The truth is you always hope as a coach that that senior year thing kicks in and kids sort of rise above themselves. And that’s huge,” Burner said.
Seniors LuLu Funkhouser and J.J. Dellinger had all nine points for the Generals in overtime.
Funkhouser, who scored six of her eight points in the overtime, hit a 3-pointer with 2:48 left in overtime to put Stonewall Jackson up for good.
“It was my first three of the year,” Funkhouser said. “I wasn’t really expecting it to go in, to tell you the truth. I’m super glad it did.”
Dellinger led the Generals with 16 points in the contest, including going 5-for-7 from the free-throw line.
“You’ve got to get to the foul line, make your foul shots. Make sure you make your layups and finish,” Dellinger said.
Stonewall Jackson senior Sara Street made a 3-pointer to tie the game with 4:09 left in regulation. The game continued back and forth and another General senior, Madison Councill, made two big steals with the Generals leading in the final minute.
With the Generals leading 34-32 and 10 seconds left, Councill shot a jumper that missed, instead of trying to run out the clock. Central’s Kendall Herbaugh took the rebound and threw a pass down the court to Central senior Ayanna Strother who made a game-tying layup at the buzzer to force overtime.
Burner said Councill was “crushed” by the play, but he said he told her and the team without Councill’s steals they may have already lost the game. Burner said he told his team they had to move on and they did. Councill bounced back and had another steal in overtime.
Funkhouser said she was motivated even more in overtime.
“I was a little upset, but it fired me up more than anything,” Funkhouser said. “I wanted to win. We couldn’t stop then.”
Central coach Bryan Scott, who tried unsuccessfully to call timeout in the final seconds of regulation, said his team’s slow start cost them once again. The Falcons lost to East Rockingham on Tuesday by six points after a slow start.
Against the Generals, Central managed only one field goal in the first 10 minutes of the game.
“I told the girls that the minute that we step on that court we got to be ready to play and I don’t think we were in the first half,” Scott said. “And I told the girls at halftime, I’m not sure if that wasn’t some of the ugliest basketball in my three years of coaching.”
The Falcons trailed 20-15 at the half, but did rally in the second half. The Falcons took their largest lead of the game, 29-26, with five minutes left in the game.
Maria Marston led Central with 10 points, while Strother and Herbaugh each had nine. Scott said foul trouble really hurt his team in overtime. Marston and Tycara Scott fouled out in regulation and overtime.
Bryan Scott said lack of depth has hurt his team in both losses.
“We’re not a very deep team,” Bryan Scott said. “So a lot of girls play a lot of minutes, and I think it just catches up with us some.”
The Falcons host Page County tonight. The Generals host Strasburg tonight.
Stonewall Jackson freshman point guard Kylene Franklin and junior center Emily Dodson had eight points each.
Franklin’s play has been a big boost to the 2-0 Generals so far this season. Burner said Franklin “lifts us to another level.”
Burner said Franklin’s ability to play at point guard has allowed his seniors to play at their natural positions.
“For the first time because of (Franklin) the (seniors) are able to play (their normal) positions,” Burner said. “LuLu’s (Funkhouser) not a point guard. She’s had to play point guard for us for three years. We had no choice. She’s one of our best defenders. We haven’t been able to use her on those people because we didn’t want to get her in foul trouble. Now all of a sudden she can do those things and that helps a lot.”