Clarke boys drop 2nd straight
BERRYVILLE — Coming off a humbling 35-point road loss to defending Bull Run District champion George Mason Monday night, the Clarke County boys’ basketball team was hoping to rebound and get back to its winning ways when it returned home Tuesday night.
Playing their fourth game in seven nights — and still trying to get their basketball wits about them after a deep run in the Group 2A state football playoffs — the Eagles have struggled offensively.
Unfortunately that proved to be costly for Clarke County for the second night in a row. Visiting William Monroe scored the first 13 points and buried four 3-pointers in the first four-plus minutes of the game and never looked back, racing past the Eagles 60-42 for a Bull Run District victory Tuesday night at Clarke County High School.
William Monroe (3-2 overall, 3-1 Bull Run District) got off the bus shooting and early on the Dragons couldn’t miss.
Merely 21 seconds into the game, Darium McKinnie hit a long trey to start the scoring and open up a 13-0 run for the Dragons.
Post player Jeffrey Early followed with a nice move inside for a 5-0 advantage.
Two more 3-pointers, one each by Austin Battan and Keegan Woolford, and a layup by Mark Williamson gave the Dragons an impressive early 13-0 lead.
“The start of the game just killed us,” Clarke County coach Brent Emmart said. “They got transition 3s. We didn’t do a good job of our coverage early in the game. In the blink of an eye we’re down 13 to start the game. It’s hard when your working uphill the whole game.
“Obviously we’re having a hard time scoring the basketball the last two nights. It will be good to get back in the gym tomorrow to get some practice time. We fought hard but we’re struggling scoring and the defensive breakdowns is just a bad combination.”
Clarke County (2-2, 1-2) finally got on the board at the 4:14 mark when Joshua Gray scored to make it 13-2.
However, that just seemed to motivate the visitors. Monroe responded with a 7-2 run to stretch the lead to 16 points (20-4) with just under three minutes remaining in the first half.
A three-point play by Morgan Warfield followed by baskets from Colton Chrane and Josh Dulaney allowed the Eagles to finish the first on a 7-0 run and get the deficit under 10 points (20-11) after one period of play.
“It was nice to get out to that early lead and make you feel a little more comfortable on the road,” William Monroe coach Mike Maynard said. “We moved the ball well and our shots were falling. It’s good to get a long trip out of the way and got a ‘W’ on the road. Anytime you get a win on the road in this district it’s really good.”
The Eagles appeared to be poised to rally all the way back the first half of the second quarter.
Clarke opened the second period on a 5-2 run to trim the deficit to six points with all five points coming from junior guard Sean McDonald.
However, that’s as close as the Eagles would get the rest of the night.
Monroe called a timeout and responded by scoring the next five points to push the lead back to double digits.
From that point on, the Eagles could never recover and the lead never dipped below 10 points the rest of the way.
After the Eagles cut it to six points with 4:51 left in the half, William Monroe went on a 12-4 run to end the half and take a 14-point lead (34-20) into the locker room.
On two different occasions in the third quarter, the Dragons extended the lead to 19 points and as much as 23 points in the fourth quarter before settling for the 18-point victory.
“We’re struggling right now but it could be worse,” Emmart said. “We’re 2-2. We’ve got to try and find a way to get a win on Thursday down at Central going into the holidays to make us all feel a little better. That’s our goal right now to get better practice by practice and game by game. We have to use all the time we have to try and improve and to get better.”
Monroe had three players score in double figures with Austin Batten and Keegan Woolford leading the way with 13 points apiece. Jeffrey Early chipped in with 11 for the Dragons.
Josh Dulaney led the way for the Eagles with nine points. McDonald and Chrane each added seven for Clarke.