Improved shooting helped Rams to first victory of season

Justin King Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — Things finally fell into place for Strasburg’s boys basketball team.

The Rams picked up their first win of the season on Monday, a 54-50 victory over Moorefield, West Virginia. Strasburg had struggled in its first four games of the season, scoring no more than 41 points in a game, and the Rams finally saw their shots start to fall early in the victory over Moorefield.

“The first half we were all just communicating well,” Strasburg sophomore shooting guard Dylan Hamrick said. “We were passing the ball well, shooting the ball well. And it was just altogether a great half for all of us. By far it was the best half we’ve played this year.”

The Rams (1-4) shot 56 percent (14-for-25) from the floor in the first half against Moorefield.

Strasburg coach Larry Fox said he’s been telling his players that if they kept shooting, their shots would eventually start to fall.

“Basketball is a weird sport where you see the first one go in, it gets your confidence going a little bit,” Fox said. “That’s kind of what happened (Monday). …We shot the ball well in the first half. Hopefully, it was a coming out party for us.”

Hamrick scored nine of his team-high 21 points in the first period as the Rams built a 14-8 edge. Hamrick did most of his damage by driving to the basket and making layups.

In the final seconds of the first period, Strasburg senior point guard Justin King hit a 3-pointer and it was the start of a barrage of 3-pointers to come. The Rams made three more in the first three minutes of the second period as they opened up a 27-12 lead.

“Once we started driving in and getting easy buckets, then the rim seems to get bigger and bigger,” Hamrick said. “And you just keep on shooting the ball and it keeps on going in.”

The Yellow Jackets made a 13-0 run to end the third period and climb back in the game. Moorefield was able to cut the lead to 49-48 with 1:11 left, but the Rams responded with a 5-2 run to end the game.

Hamrick made all five points down the stretch for the Rams, including a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

“He’s a young kid, but he’s had to grow up real fast for us,” Fox said of Hamrick. “And it was kind of neat for me to see him in that situation and see how he is he going to respond — and it was good for him.”

King had 12 points for the Rams, while Trevor Sager and Stephen Kloosterman had six points each.

Fox said he’s been very happy with the way his bench has performed. Senior forwards Grant Scott and Austin Miller gave the team solid minutes off the bench. Scott had six rebounds.

“It’s one thing we’ve talked about is how can you help us?” Fox said of Scott and Miller. “How can you help us? What can you contribute to our team to help us win? Everybody plays a role and I think those guys understand their role and that’s what we need. We need those guys to give us tough, physical minutes inside — and I think they did. They did a good job.”

Brody Tomblin had five rebounds in the fourth period. Tomblin has been battling an illness, and Fox said he didn’t want to have to play him against Moorefield, but felt like he needed him. Tomblin only played in the fourth period, and Fox said he was very happy with the spark he gave the team.

“That’s tough for him to come off the bench after sitting,” Fox said. “I kind of asked him ‘are you OK, are you ready to go.’ And he said ‘yeah I think I can help you, coach.'”

The Rams play at Stonewall Jackson today at 7 p.m. Strasburg lost to Stonewall Jackson, 60-41 on Dec. 1.

Strasburg won only three games all of last season, but getting a win early in the season has the players feeling good about what they can do the rest of this season.

“It was great. We really need (a win),” King said. “I think this is going to jump start our whole season.”