FRONT ROYAL — Warren County played for only the second time in the last 17 days and it showed on Monday night.
The Wildcats looked sluggish in a 63-32 loss to Fauquier in Northwestern District boys basketball action.
“We had a long Christmas break,” Warren County coach John Kelly said. “Then we came back and played on (Jan. 2, a 64-42 loss to Clarke County) and it’s been a week since then. We’re starting to get back into the swing of things and we just looked awful.”
The Wildcats had more turnovers (15) in the first half than they had points (14).
The game was close throughout most of the first period, although the Wildcats never led in the game. A 3-pointer by sophomore Marion Haley tied the game at 5-5 with 5:39 left in the first period.
Fauquier closed the period on a 10-2 run for a 15-7 lead, aided by five Warren County turnovers.
“They did things right,” Kelly said of Fauquier. “We didn’t capitalize on some of the turnovers they made. And that’s what we had to do.”
Things didn’t go any better in the second period. The Falcons scored back-to-back baskets to extend the lead early in the second period.
Haley made two free throws and a 3-pointer by senior David Kelly helped cut the lead to 21-12 with 5:48 left in the second period.
The Falcons then took complete control of the game with a 20-2 run that extended into the third period. Warren County’s Gabriel Davis made a layup with 29 seconds left in the first half for the only points for the Wildcats during a span of 9:36.
Warren County (5-6) had 12 turnovers during that span and missed nine shots.
“On our big board (in the locker room) our No. 3 thing is to protect the basketball, rebound and win free throws,” John Kelly said. “All three of those things weren’t there tonight. The energy level that I thought our more experienced players would bring was not there. Our more inexperienced players had it and showed it in the fourth quarter. Maybe this is a wake-up call.”
The Wildcats did have some good minutes from some of their bench players, who were mostly sophomores.
Haley said that the team needs to learn from the loss.
“We just have to play as a team, work together and not fight and go one-on-one,” Haley said. “We have the talent to play as a team and win the game.”
Before the last two losses, the Wildcats had started the season off strong with a lot of inexperienced players. Warren County has seven sophomores, six seniors and two juniors.
Haley said the seniors have been great for the sophomores this season.
“They’ve helped a lot,” Haley said. “They’ve helped me work on stuff and been like a big brother to me.”
The Falcons were led by Thurman Smith with 13 points and Samuel Matthews with 11 points. Devin Lewis added 10 points.
Haley led the Wildcats with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Warren County hosts Culpeper County on Friday night to start its Class 3 Northwestern District season.
“We’ve played some bigger schools starting out the season,” John Kelly said. “We’re finally in (Class 3) district play on Friday, which I don’t want to say is better, but maybe we’re more prepared for.”