By Jake Bowling / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
William Monroe head coach Brett Maynard yelled from the sideline late in the third quarter of his team’s 51-37 win over Central Woodstock, imploring Troy Jones to redirect Central’s Ryan Barr.
“Turn him! Turn him!” Maynard yelled.
The Dragons were fighting and clawing against a team who beat Monroe twice a season ago and made it to the Class 3 State Final Four. Jones did just as he was told. He made Barr switch directions while he was bringing the ball up the floor, forcing him right and into a tough spot. Barr promptly turned the ball over and William Monroe scored on a fast break.
“Troy Jones was just working the point guard up the court the whole time, and just that consistent pressure and smart physicality really changed the game,” Maynard said
The Dragons had consistent pressure and smart physicality all night, holding the Falcons, the reigning Region 3B champions, to just two second quarter points and only one double figure scorer.
The game was physical from the jump, and Logan Barbour led his team to a 15-10 lead after one, scoring eight of Monroe’s points out of the gate.
From there, the Dragons turned up the heat defensively, Central’s only bucket the rest of the half was a Barr floater late. Central coach Jeff Whittle was whistled for a technical with 17 seconds left in the half, that paired with some paint buckets from Franklin Lindsay and Blake Shifflett helped the Dragons to a healthy 25-12 halftime lead.
“I was proud of our defense, especially in that second quarter,” Maynard said. “We got a little bit lackadaisical there in the second half, we’ll try and tighten that up.”
Still, the Dragons took the third quarter 14-12, in large part thanks to huge hustle plays from Blake Shifflett and Troy Jones.
“That is the epitome of William Monroe basketball,” Maynard said of their play. “We just take a lot of pride in our defense, and guys like that have really allowed us to be successful these past few years.”
It didn’t hurt that Barbour scored another eight points in the quarter, plus Lindsay and Jones hit timely threes when Central started to crawl back in it.
The Falcons cut that lead to 48-37 with 2:27 left, but Jones hit a couple big free throws to help seal it.
“It feels great,” Barbour said. “It’s a huge confidence boost.”
Barbour led all scorers with 22 points, going 5-for-6 from the line. Lindsay chipped in 10, and Jones 7. William Monroe improved to 2-2 on the season, with two losses to Skyline sandwiched between tonight’s win and their season opener with Culpeper.
“Skyline beat the crap out of us for two games.” Maynard said of the district matches, which Monroe only lost by four and five points, respectively. “We finally adjusted to that level of play tonight and I thought our guys kind of stepped up. Central played hard and physical.”
William Monroe now looks to another district game tomorrow, this time traveling to Nokesville to play Brentsville.
For Central, Barr led his team with 12, and Parker Sheetz added 9. The Falcons host George Mason on Thursday.