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Falcons hold off Generals for girls basketball win

Maria Marston

WOODSTOCK — Central was patient on offense Thursday night and the patience paid off.

The Falcons slowed things down against Stonewall Jackson, built a double-digit lead and held on for a 40-34 non-district girls basketball win.

Central coach Bryan Scott said he wanted his team to have good ball movement and not settle for quick shots.

“We’ve been working on that,” Scott said. “That was the plan. We haven’t had a whole lot of practice. But we’ve been working on moving the ball, not settling for the first open person. We wanted to move the ball, to try to slow down, to try to move the ball and it worked in the first half.”

The Falcons (4-6) passed the ball around for a minute to start the game, before Bailey Gale drilled a 3-pointer for a 3-0 lead. It was a sign of things to come.

Brooke Ryman

The Generals (6-6) struggled with turnovers. They had 13 turnovers in the first half and only 9 points.

Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said his team wasn’t playing aggressive enough in the first half.

“We let them dictate what they wanted to do and they shoved us around and we didn’t respond,” Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said. “Basketball’s a game you got to play with desperation. I talk about that all the time. I play every time like it’s the last time I’m going to get to do it. Every time I coach I try to do that. And so I don’t think we played that way in the first half.”

Stonewall Jackson’s Sara Streett hit the Generals’ first basket with 3:39 left in the opening period to cut the lead to 3-2.

Central was able to score 5 straight points, on a basket by Tycara Scott and two free throws by Maria Marston for a 7-2 lead. The two teams traded baskets, before the Falcons closed the first period with the last 4 points and a 13-6 lead.

Tycara Scott scored early in the second period, but Stonewall Jackson’s LuLu Funkhouser’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 15-9 with 5:37 left in the opening half.

Central used an 8-0 run to build a 23-9 halftime edge.

The Generals slowly climbed back in the game. Stonewall Jackson went on a 6-0 run to start the second half to cut the lead to 23-15.

“In the second half I think we played our style of basketball, and we did all the things we wanted to do,” Burner said.

The Falcons extended the lead back to 10 on two free throws by Maya-Frye Williams. However, Stonewall Jackson point guard Kylene Franklin made back-to-back baskets to help cut the lead to 26-19 with 2:18 left in the third period.

Frye-Williams’ layup with 1:16 left in the third period gave Central a 28-19 edge.

The Falcons made only two baskets in the second half, but made up for it at the free-throw line. Central went 13-for-20 in the second half at the line. Central finished the game 20-for-28 at the free-throw line.

“That’s pretty good,” Bryan Scott said of his team’s free-throw shooting. “That’s not something that we’re typically good at, we’re right in the middle of the road. But tonight it was the difference in the ball game.”

The Generals struggled from the free-throw line, making only 3 of their last 11 free-throw attempts.

“You got to make some free throws in the second half,” Burner said. “If we make some free throws, that game’s a different story.”

Stonewall Jackson was able to cut the lead to 32-30 with 1:30 left in the game on a driving layup by Franklin. However, Central closed the game by making eight free throws in the last 1:30 of play to seal the win.

The Generals were led by Franklin with a game-high 14 points. Burner said the Generals have to play better on the road.

“We’ve got to stop having these stretches where we don’t score — and especially on the road,” Burner said. “On the road we go through stretches where we just don’t score the ball. When you play good teams they make you pay for that.”

Marston led the Falcons with 9 points. Frye-Williams and Ayanna Strother had 7 points each.

The Falcons were also playing without junior forward Kendall Herbaugh due to a strained groin. Bryan Scott said he was really happy with the play of Brooke Ryman, especially defensively taking Herbaugh’s place. Ryman was matched up with Stonewall Jackson’s J.J. Dellinger and held her to seven points.

“Brooke Ryman is probably the best defensive player on this team,” Bryan Scott said. “She’s probably our best defensive player, so we were small with Kendall being out. Kendall’s probably around 5-9, 5-10 and Brooke Ryman is about 5-3 — that’s a big difference. I called timeout (during the game) and we (switched to man defense) and I told Brooke I said I want you guarding (J.J.) Dellinger because she’s hurt us the past two years. That was my goal was to shut her down and we did, I think.”

Central’s boys basketball team also defeated Stonewall Jackson on Thursday night with a 73-49 victory.

Central’s Luke Estep scored 31 points and had eight rebounds.

The Falcons led 15-10 after the first period, but gradually pulled away throughout the rest of the game.

“I don’t think we played our best,” Central coach Jeff Whittle said. “We had four days off. We looked a little sluggish at times. We were also dealing with a couple things. Dominic Strother’s back was bothering him. He’s got an injured back and then Zeb was not feeling well –sick. A win’s a win. We’ll defenitely take that. I think Luke shot the ball. Luke’s been struggling shooting the ball the last four games. He shot the ball well and had a good game.”

Central’s Varsey Bright had 12 points and teammate Bryan Davis had nine points and 11 rebounds. Central’s Sam Shifflett had three points and eight rebounds.

It was Central’s 10th-straight victory.

Nick Dotson led Stonewall Jackson with 17 points.