LEXINGTON — Harrisonburg closed out the second quarter with a 19-10 run to take a 48-31 halftime lead and the Blue Streaks pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Stuarts Draft, 100-76, in the opening boys basketball game Friday at the Rock The Ribbon Roundball Shootout hosted by Rockbridge High School.
“I give a lot of credit to Coach (Mike) Gale at Stuarts Draft and the way he runs that system,” said Harrisonburg head coach Don Burgess. “His kids have bought into the system and they play it well. That was tough for us to prepare for because we don’t see that style of play. We just had to keep reminding our guys to make the extra pass and that would lead to layups. And, we did a nice job with that most of the game.”
Draft was unable to find the range from beyond the arc in the first half as the Cougars made just four 3-pointers in the opening two quarters. Harrisonburg opened up its lead as Claudeson Tacy, Christian Velker and Jesse Lichti worked inside to provide the offensive firepower for the Streaks.
The Streaks stretched the lead to 20 points, 58-38, early in the third quarter before Draft made its only serious run in the second half.
The Cougars hit four 3-pointers during a 16-4 run to cut the deficit to eight points with three minutes left in the third period.
Ryan Riley, Mark Rodgers and Colton Harris ignited the run with 3-pointers as Draft whittled the margin down to 62-47. Jayden Watkins added two free throws and Latrell Fomby scored inside, pulling Draft to within 62-51.
Riley then knocked down another 3-pointer and the Streaks’ lead was cut to eight, 62-54, with 3:01 left in the quarter. Lichti scored in traffic for the Streaks, pushing the margin back to 10, but Draft’s Jo’el Howard countered with two free throws to keep the margin at eight, 64-56, with 2:16 left.
Harrisonburg closed the quarter with a 9-2 spurt to push its lead to 73-58. Jaziel Mensah-Agyekum hit a 3-pointer and Tacy scored inside, making the score 69-56. After Chase Schages scored for the Cougars, Tacy and Michael Kuangu worked the paint for buckets, sending Harrisonburg to the fourth quarter with a 73-68 lead.
“Draft can get hot from three and a lead can disappear in a hurry,” said Burgess. “We had to take a timeout and remind the guys to get back to what we were doing early and that’s defend, rebound and make the extra pass. We were able to withstand that run and stretch things back out.”
Harrisonburg wasn’t threatened in the fourth quarter as the Streaks led by as many as 28 points before finishing with the 100-76 victory.
Harrisonburg placed four players in double figures, led by Tacy with 21 points and Lichti with 17. Mensah-Agyekum and Christian Velker each finished with 11. Rodgers paced the Cougars with 12 points andn Riley added 11.
“We’ve had a lot of close losses early in the season, but the guys have stuck with it,” Burgess said. “That was a good effort today against a tough opponent.”