Falcons extend win streak to six games in win over Warriors

Varsey Bright

STEPHENS CITY — Central and Sherando’s boys basketball teams were in the same boat this season. However, the Falcons showed on Wednesday night that they are further along than the Warriors.

Both teams got of to late starts due to the school’s football teams making a run in the postseason. Central’s run came to an end in the second round, while Sherando’s came to an end in the state semifinals.

That was one of the factors in Central’s 70-58 non-district victory over Sherando. It was the Falcons sixth-straight win after losing their season opener to East Rockingham.

“We’ve been putting it together and we got a nice little winning streak here,” Central boys basketball coach Jeff Whittle said. “I think they’re well coached. I think they’ll get better. Obviously, they had a state semi and they’re kind of like us at the beginning of the year where they haven’t had a lot of practice time with their guys. And when we see them again in January they’ll be a different team. And hopefully we’ll be even better by then too.”

The Falcons (6-1) were able to jump out to a 12-6 first-period lead, and were able to hold the Warriors off the rest of the way.

Luke Estep

Central pushed the lead to as much as 15 in the fourth period, before Sherando made a run to cut the lead to 46-41 with 5:08 left. The Falcons responded with six consecutive points. Central guard Varsey Bright had four points and an assist during that spurt.

“I think we just needed to settle down,” Bright said. “We were rushing a little bit. We kept our composure and kind of slowed the offense down and didn’t take quick shots, didn’t take long shots. And we basically went for layups.”

Whittle said he purposely didn’t call a timeout during Sherando’s run, because he wanted to see how his team would respond and he was proud of the way they handled the situation.

One thing the Falcons did very well throughout the game and all season has been rebounding. Central dominated the boards against Sherando. Central’s Luke Estep had 14 rebounds and Bright had nine.

“We’re not overly big but we got some guys with a little bit of size and they play kind of strong,” Whittle said. “Bryan Davis, and Luke (Estep) and Zeb (Dyer) and Sam (Shifflett). And Varsey (Bright) rebounds well for a guard, and Jared (Patton) rebounds well for a guard. Collectively, we’re doing a pretty decent job of giving teams one shot. And there’s an occasional lapse where we don’t, but we’ve been doing a pretty good job on the glass all year. And hopefully we can continue that.”

Sherando coach Garland Williams said the majority of players that get the most minutes on his squad have only been with the team for a little over a week, and have only played two games.

Williams said the main thing is for his players to stay patient and understand they will get better.

“We just got to stay together as a group,” Williams said. “Sometimes we tell them we’re not a professional team, so don’t worry about what the fans and the crowd say. We just got to stay within ourselves. And I thought they did a good job, because they could have blown us out right. But we kept chipping and chipping and got it to single digits and that’s all we can ask for.”

Sherando’s Tad Dean had 16 points, while Matt McKay and Aaron Banks had 11 each.

The Warriors (1-3) had nine different players score and all 11 players got playing time.

“Everybody got to be in a good and competitive game,” Williams said. “We made our mistakes and we’re going to learn from those. And like I said, we’ll get better.”

Bright had a game-high 24 points for Central. Estep had 14 points and Shifflett had 11 points.

Both coaches are looking for the same thing — more practice time with their players.

The Falcons are off until Tuesday when they host East Rockingham.

“We have some time here to actually to get better at practice,” Whittle said. “We’ve had so many games here early, and we’ve been kind of throwing some stuff at them on the fly almost. And I’m just glad we have some days here to actually get a little more crisp at running some of our offense, our base offense and our sets. And then continue to work on our defense in the half court and in our press. So I’m actually excited about these next upcoming days.”