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Third-period surge helps Eagles top Rams

STRASBURG — Clarke County’s offense came to life at just the right time Wednesday night.

The Eagles used a scoring spurt in the third period to pull away from Strasburg en route to a 57-29 girls basketball victory in Bull Run District action.

Clarke County used a 15-0 run late in the third period to build a 21-point lead, and Eagles’ coach Regina Downing said it all started on the defensive end.

“Just thank God for halftime, where we can come in and make adjustments on some things and come out with a little bit more intensity and energy,” Downing said. “Our defense was the key to us, and if we get locked in on the defensive end we’re a pretty tough team. I thought the second half that we locked in on the defensive end and our defense caused some turnovers and led to some easy leak-outs in transition.”

The first half was sluggish for both teams. The Eagles led 23-17, and the two teams combined for 25 turnovers and 24 fouls.

The two teams traded baskets midway through the period, and Strasburg’s Haley Bischoff’s conventional three-point play cut the lead to 28-22 with 3:26 left.

Clarke County (5-6, 2-2 Bull Run) then went on the 15-0 run which carried over into the fourth period. The Rams went almost six minutes without scoring a point.

“We’re really struggling on the offensive end,” Strasburg coach Darin Jenkins said. “Obviously it’s shown in the last few games. We’re not good enough right now that when we get behind that we’re good enough to come back. We’re going to keep working at it. We’re going to get it figured out.”

Strasburg’s Christyan Reid scored with 5:27 left in the game to break the Rams’ scoring drought.

The Rams (3-8, 1-3 Bull Run) only missed four shots during the stretch, but Strasburg struggled all night with turnovers. The Rams committed 31 turnovers in the game.

“I just told them I think there’s effort I think we’re trying. I think that a lot of times it’s wasted effort,” Jenkins said. “We’re throwing the ball to a spot instead of to an open person. How you get out-rebounded when you have a girl that’s 6 foot 3 — it puzzles me. The things that we work on in practice aren’t carrying over to the game.”

Both teams were playing short-handed. Jenkins said that Strasburg sophomore Daniella Henry is out due to injury, and freshman Lauren Nofsinger didn’t play due to personal reasons.

Downing said she was also short two players — Emily Wenzel and Megan Hicks — due to concussions.

Downing said she was upset with the slow start by her squad.

“We were lacking focus, just not tuned in to what was going on,” Downing said. “In order for us to be successful, we got to be tuned in from the get-go. When the ball goes up, we got to be ready to play basketball.”

Jade Payton led the Eagles with 20 points, while Heather See added 10.

Downing said that not having Wenzel and Hicks has hurt the team, but she’s happy with how some of the other players have played.

“We’re just weathering the storm right now, but the other kids are stepping up and dong some great things,” Downing said. “We’re asking a lot of them right now, but they’re stepping up and they’re doing some great things.”

Reid scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the first period and also had three rebounds. Bischoff had eight points and four rebounds for the Rams.

Strasburg has a young team with just one senior, and Jenkins said he knew his team would have struggles this season.

“I realize there’s going to be bumps in the road,” Jenkins said. “I realize there’s going to be bad nights, but the main thing is we got to have a little bit more heart. We got to be a little bit tougher, and that’s what we’re going to work on.”

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