Reserves propel Wildcats over Rams

FRONT ROYAL-In a game of wild swings, Warren County High School’s boys’ basketball team closed out senior night at the gymnasium Tuesday with a 67-56 victory over Strasburg.

The double-figure victory — the Wildcats’ second of the season over the Rams — was not as easy as it might have sounded for Warren County, which finished its regular season at 5-8 in the Bull Run District, 7-13 overall.

The winners will travel to James Monroe High School Friday for a first-round Conference 28 tournament game.

Meanwhile, Strasburg (2-12 district, 3-19) closed out its regular season with this road game. It will play a Conference 35 tournament game Thursday at Clarke County High School.

“Big runs on both sides,” said Warren County coach Tony Clark. “I thought the big one was the one we made at the end of the half — the one that ended up 19-0. After that, we just had to battle.”

Warren seniors Cameron Ford, Aaron Deavers and Brendan McMackin scored their team’s first eight points to take an 8-0 lead with 5:47 left in the first quarter.

Then it was Strasburg’s turn to churn. The Rams ran off seven straight points with the final tallies coming on a Cody Brill jumper that made it 8-7.

With the game tied at 12, the visitors set off on another turn and this time took a 19-14 lead at the end of the first period.

Freshman Strasburg guard Dylan Hamrick cashed in a 3-point shot and, after Ford’s layup for Warren, Stephen Kloosterman put back a rebound to close out the quarter.

The Rams expanded that five-point lead to nine on a Kloosterman shot before the Wildcats started overwhelming the Rams’ defense.

The ‘Cats went on the 19-0 streak with players like Robert Cameron, Hunter Pratscher and Hunter Wines contributing.

Cameron, a 6-foot-1 sophomore transfer from Strasburg, was instrumental in keeping his team on top at the half.

“Coach told us when we played Central here last that there would be games when Cam wouldn’t contribute like usual and somebody else would have to step up. I took his words to heart,” said Cameron, whose 15 points were just 7 behind Ford’s game-leading 22.

Ford, the senior who has scored more than 1,000 points in his four-year career, took a lot of shots for that 22 total and at some points seemed to be pressing in what might have been his last game in the Warren County gymnasium.

He contributed five steals and two rebounds but Cameron, Pratscher (8 points), Deavers (7), R.J. Keeney (6) and Wines (4) helped out.

“Cameron is one of those guys who really works on his shot. They want to know reasons why the ball goes this way — or falls short — and they listen for ways to correct those things. Cameron has done that,” said Clark.

Ahead by 10, the Wildcats watched as the Rams climbed right back into the district contest.

The third period was the visitors’ time to outscore their hosts 17-4 and tie the game at 44.

But then Warren put an 8-0 run together for a 52-44 lead with 2:13 showing in the third period.

Strasburg reserve Trevor Taff’s score to open the fourth period pulled the Rams within 52-49 and Brill’s 3 made it 54-52 Wildcats, but Warren County dug in during the game’s final five minutes.

The Wildcats’ 11-2 spurt put the game out of reach late.

Keeney pulled down eight rebounds for Warren County to go with four apiece from McMackin, who was hobbled by a sore ankle, and Wines

Brill led the Rams with 14 points, including three 3-point shots. Justin King added 11 and Sammy Hopkins scored 10. Kloosterman added seven rebounds.

Contact Jim Laise at sports@nvdaily.com

Boys basketball

Wildcats 67, Rams 56

Score by quarters

Warren 14 23 15 15-67

Strasburg 19 8 20 9-56

Warren County (5-8 Bull Run District, 7-13)-Garnett 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Ford 10 2-6 22, Cameron 5 4-7 15, Pratscher 3 1-2 8, Deavers 2 2-2 7, Keeney 3 0-0 6, McMackin 1 0-0 3, Dodson 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 7-17 67.

Strasburg (2-12, 3-19)-Brill 5 1-2 14, Taff 1 0-0 2, Reeder 0 0-0 0, Hamrick 2 0-0 5, King 3 4-4 11, Hoover 1 0-0 2, Hopkins 4 2-3 10, Kloosterman 3 2-2 8, Clinedinst 1 0-0 2, Totals 20 9-11 56.

3-point shots: Warren County 4 (Pratscher 1, Cameron 1, Deavers 1, McMackin 1). Strasburg 5 (Brill 3, Hamrick 1, King 1)