Falcons keep momentum going, knock off Eagles

WOODSTOCK — Central had momentum going into Saturday’s game with Clarke County after a solid win the night before. The Falcons rode that momentum to another key victory against the Eagles.

The Falcons used a hot-start from 3-point range to pull out a 55-38 Conference 35 boys basketball victory over Clarke County.

“We had a good win (Friday) night, so we were already confident about that,” Central junior Luke Estep said. “And then it definitely transferred over to (Saturday) night.”

Central went 8-for-12 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range in the first half with four different players making at least one.

Central’s Sam Shifflett made back-to-back 3-pointers to start the game as the Falcons grabbed a quick 6-0 lead.

“Once the first 3 goes in it gets everybody all hyped up,” Estep said. “And just makes it a lot easier to continue to make 3’s.”

The Eagles (7-7, 2-5 Bull Run, 2-4 Conference 35) battled back, and eventually cut the lead to 8-7 on a driving layup by Brett McDonald.

Central (6-9, 5-4 Bull Run, 3-3 Conference 35) responded with a 10-0 run that stretched into the second period. Jared Rice and Shifflett finished off the run with back-to-back 3-pointers.

The Eagles rallied once again with an 11-3 spurt, aided by three 3-pointers of their own. A basket by Hayden Good cut the lead to 21-18 with 3:55 left in the first half.

Central, which led the entire game, answered with a 13-3 run for the rest of the half. The Falcons hit three more 3-pointers during the run.

“The last couple games we’ve been hitting shots that haven’t fallen in the past,” Estep said. “We’re just feeling good.”

McDonald and Isaiah Waters made back-to-back baskets to start the third period, but Central responded with a 10-5 run for a 44-30 lead. They led by at least 12 points the rest of the way.

Central boys basketball coach Jeff Whittle said he was very happy with how they played as a team.

“We’ve been playing some team basketball the last two games,” Whittle said. “So that’s nice to see. We’ve got everybody playing well.”

Whittle said he was happy with the play of the bench, which had a combined 15 points for Central.

He said he was also happy with how the Falcons dealt with Clarke’s County’s physical team.

“They’re a physical team,” Whittle said. “We were stressing the importance of mentally and physically being ready to play against that physical style. So I think we’ve gotten tougher. We need to continue it.”

The Falcons finished the game shooting 40.8 percent (20-for-49) from the field and 50 percent (9-for-18) from 3-point range.

McDonald led the Eagles with 12 points.

Estep finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Shifflett had 14 points and five rebounds, and Coy Jimenez had 10 points for Central.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com