By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 3 — The Eagles of East Rockingham shuffled through a deep bench and had eight different players put points in the scorebook in a 59-46 Bull Run District win over Luray on the road Friday night. Despite hanging tough with the top-ranked Eagles through the final three periods, a slow start in the opening eight minutes created a deficit that the home-standing Bulldogs could not overcome.
East Rock junior Kain Shifflett lead all scorers with 20 points on the night, including a three-pointer and a 7-for-9 effort at the free throw line. The Eagles only committed three turnovers in the first half, while hitting 67 percent from the floor. East Rock jumped out to a 20-7 lead by the end of the first quarter and held a 31-17 at the half.
After the first frame — where Luray only hit three shots from the floor — the home team hung with the visitors from Elkton, only getting outscored 11-10 in the second quarter and actually edging the Eagles 15-13 in the third. The fourth quarter also saw only a one-point advantage for East Rock, 15-14.
Luray picked up some momentum late in the third quarter and carried it over to the fourth and final frame. The Bulldogs got the Eagles in foul trouble and hit 19-of-22 from the foul line for the game, including a 13-for-13 stretch in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Luray trailed by as much as 18 at several points during the third period, but cut the deficit to as little as eight midway through the fourth quarter. However, the Bulldogs could not get any closer as East Rock got a strong second-half effort from Shifflett and 6’3″ senior Xavier Butler, who posted seven of his nine points in the final two frames. Sophomore Dean Robinson put up 17 points for the Eagles.
The Bulldogs were lead by junior forward Christian Lentz with 14 points, while fellow junior forward Ryder Liscomb had 13 and sophomore Blake Jenkins added nine. Freshman Matthew Owens had Luray’s only three-pointer, while a trio of Eagles hit from beyond the arc.
Luray struggled all night with the tenacious, man-to-man press defense of East Rock and committed more than a dozen turnovers. The Eagles turned several steals into easy layups at the other end of the court, especially in the first half. However, the Bulldogs made a much better showing than their first meeting with the Eagles when they lost by a 47-point margin, 79-32, in Elkton on Jan. 6.
With the win, East Rockingham moves to 13-7 overall and climbs into a three-way tie for first place in the Bull Run District. The Eagles now sit at 11-3 in the district, along with Madison and Clarke, with two games remaining. East Rock wraps up the regular season next week by hosting Central (7-12) on Tuesday, Feb. 7 and traveling to Page County (9-10) on Friday, Feb. 10. PVN Sports will be on hand for that game with play-by-play commentary to accompany the NFHS livestream.
With the loss, Luray drops to 6-14 overall and 5-9 in the Bull Run. The Bulldogs will close out their regular season next week by traveling to Strasburg (12-6) on Tuesday and hosting Clarke (12-7) next Friday.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
Kain Shifflett and Christian Lentz
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Players of the Game“.
Shifflett posted a game-high 20 points for East Rock, while Lentz lead Luray with 14.
Panthers sweep Bulldogs in district doubleheader
Luray holds on to claim 69-64 win over Central
Bulldogs allow Rams to overcome double-digit deficit and let district win slip away, 47-42
Hope that the play by play goes well!