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Staunton River appeared to have a breakout performance, but then back-slid against Byrd and was pummeled by Brookville. Jefferson Forest remains an enigma. It seemed to have its offense in gear in its win over Amherst, but then reverted back to its low-scoring self in losses to Glass and Rustburg.
River stuns Heritage
James Bell, Mike Lynch and Al Dillon put up some impressive numbers in leading the Eagles to a 62-60 victory over the Pioneers. Bell had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Lynch nailed a season-high 24 points while getting 3 assists. The feisty senior also had 3 steals and 7 deflected shots. Dillon added 17 points while nabbing 6 big boards.
It was the first Staunton River win over Heritage since Moby was a minnow, and Eagle Head Coach Chris Carr was thrilled with what he saw of his team in the win. "I have been a part of sports at Staunton River for almost 10 years," he noted, "and I saw more commitment to teamwork in this game than I have ever seen here. "
Finally facing a team that didn't tower over them, the Eagles' season-long strategy of hustle, hustle, hustle finally bore fruit. "In my pregame talk I just reminded the kids of the hard work that they had put in, and if they believed in themselves and their teammates they were capable of much more than they thought possible," stated Carr.
Another impressive fact is that the Eagles were missing a couple of their key players for the game, as they sat in Carr's doghouse for missing practice.
"I'm very proud of our kids," said Carr. " Our guys knew that they couldn?t try to out-athlete Heritage so they really focused on the X?s and O?s and being disciplined on both ends of the court."
The Eagles were brought back to earth when they were beaten at their own game by Byrd, falling 49-38. The Eagles seemed more interested in complaining than in winning. Few members of the team seemed ready to play the hard-nosed Terriers, who put a premium on defense.
The Eagle attack was paced by Geary Cunningham's 10 points and Al Dillon's 9. The two players were among the low number of Eagles that seemed ready for this one. "Al was mentally tough," said Carr. "It shows in all his sports (baseball, football and basketball). He comes to play regardless of the opponent."
Staunton River then took a spanking at the hands of mighty Brookville, 57-39. Just as he put a pasting on the Eagles in football, Bee Logan Thomas did it in roundball, picking up 20 points for the evening. A team such as Brookville, featuring too-tall Logan and Corby Weiss, is the worst nightmare for the speedy, but undersized Eagles.
Forest blasts Amherst, stumbles against others
The Cavs' offense seemed to get on track in the second half in their win over the Lancers. "We just started making the shots," said Head Coach Paul Smith.
Smith's charges were led by Brandon Harrison (20 points) and Ted Price (19). "Brandon's had a couple of really good games for us," said Smith. "And Ted gave us the same solid game that we get from him every night."
Todd tenPas seems to be finding a groove, as well. Against Amherst, he added 9 points. "He always seems to be in the right place at the right time," observed Smith.
While the score (57-48) would indicate otherwise, the game was a close one. It was Forest's exploding in the second half that earned them the win. It should be noted that the 43 Cav points following the intermission is more than the team has scored in several games.
Forest grabbed the lead late in the game, when Harrison converted a three point play and the Lancers were hit with a technical foul. Good foul shooting down the stretch locked down the victory.
In non-district action, the Cavs lost a close one to Glass, 42-39. "We played them close," said Smith. "We just couldn't make the plays when we needed them."
tenPas led the Cav scorers with 13, while Harrison had 10 and Price added 9.
There was a lesson to be learned for the team. "I told the team we'll have 10 or 15 games like the Glass game...where it will come down to the last minute," said Smith.
The Cavs dropped another close one, this time to Rustburg by a score of 33-32. Again, offensive production was an issue, as the team only put up 12 points in the entire first half before getting productive in the fourth quarter to make a go of it. No Cav reached double figures in scoring, as the team managed only 11 baskets for the night.
Defense really does seem to be the hallmark of this team. It limited Blake Forslund to only 4 points. Rustburg was paced by Quinn Hamlett's 13.
This Thursday, Staunton River hosts Amherst, with another good chance for a win. On Monday, the team heads to Rustburg. Thursday, Forest heads to William Byrd, then hosts Gretna on Saturday. Monday will be a huge test for the Cavs when they host Liberty.
While Forest only has two wins this season, they are both in Seminole play, which puts them in the thick of things at this early point.