STRASBURG — Strasburg started its boys basketball season off with a bang Tuesday night.
The Rams won a shootout over Page County, 85-79, in nondistrict action. It was the first game of the season for both teams.
Strasburg’s trio of junior guards — Derek Fox, Craig Pangle and Kamryn Pangle — combined for 71 points in the win. Craig and Kamryn Pangle recently transferred from Sherando, and Strasburg coach Larry Fox said he thought the team meshed well together on Tuesday.
“Overall, I thought we played well, especially when you’re meshing new kids there with some kids that moved up from last year’s (junior varsity) and some returners,” Larry Fox said. “It was a really good output with all those circumstances really.”
Page County scored the first 2 points of the game, but the Rams led the rest of the way. Strasburg held as much as a 15-point lead, but the Panthers made two strong rallies in the final minutes.
The Panthers used a 14-3 run to cut the lead to 72-68 with 3:37 remaining. However, Kamryn Pangle scored 5 straight points and combined with Derek Fox for an 8-0 run and an 80-68 lead with two minutes left.
Page County responded again with 5 points from Trevor Williams, a basket by Caden Lucas and two free throws from Ricky Campbell to cut the lead to 81-77 with 47 seconds left.
The Rams missed five free throws in the last 1:36 of the game. However, Derek Fox, who went 9-for-11 from the free-throw line, made all four of his free throws in the last 21 seconds to seal the Strasburg win. Derek Fox led the Rams with a career-high 30 points.
“I just practice my free throws a lot and get my rhythm and get used to making them,” Derek Fox said.
Larry Fox said they wanted to get the ball in Derek’s hands in the final minute, and it worked out well at the end.
The game was played at a frantic fast pace with the two teams combining for 40 turnovers.
The Rams are playing without junior point guard Dylan Hamrick due to a broken collarbone he suffered during football season. Hamrick is expected back within the next four weeks. Larry Fox said that once Hamrick returns, it gives the Rams yet another strong guard and makes the team even better.
Kamryn Pangle stepped into the point guard role and said he enjoyed it.
“I like playing point guard,” he said. “It’s like controlling the floor, telling everybody what to do, calling the plays. I like it.”
Twin brothers Kamryn and Craig Pangle were playing in their first-ever varsity game after being on Sherando’s junior varsity team the last two years. Kamryn Pangle had 20 points and Craig had 21.
“Before the game, there was a little bit of butterflies, but once the game started it was just playing basketball,” Kamryn Pangle said.
Derek Fox said that once the Rams get used to playing together, they should keep getting better.
“It’s going to take some time to get used to playing with two new kids,” Derek Fox said. “And once we get that going it should be pretty good.”
The Rams, who made 11 3-pointers, struggled inside the paint as forwards Stephen Kloosterman and Da’Neil Holliday battled foul trouble throughout the game.
Page County had five players in double figures led by 17 each from Williams and Lucas. Dalton Campbell had 15 points. Chase Combs added 12 and Ricky Campbell had 10.
Strasburg shot 50.9 percent (29-for-55) from the field and 11-for-18 (61.1 percent) from 3-point range.
The Rams have struggled to pick up wins over the last few years, and Larry Fox said the victory over Page County is a good sign for the season.
“It’s a very good win for us,” he said. “Like I told those kids in the locker room there, let’s not let this be the highlight of our season. It’s a very good win. They have a very storied program. And like I told them we want to be how they play. How they get up and down the court. They play tough. They play physical. They never quit as you could see — they came back. So I think we’re on our way.”