By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, Jan. 6 — Page County has won three of their last four games, as the Panthers are beginning to turn around their season. The 2022-23 campaign began with three straight non-district wins, but then took a downturn as Page went on a five-game losing streak, including three district matchups. Now, the Panther momentum is beginning to swing back in their favor.
On the heels of a 20-point victory over Luray on the road Wednesday night, Page County put together a 16-point win over Central at home on Friday, 56-40. Once again, senior Jacob Williams lead the way with 20 points on the night. Williams knocked down four shots from beyond the arc and posted 16 of Page’s 29 points in the first half.
The Panthers jumped out to a quick 16-5 lead in the first quarter behind a hat trick of three-pointers from Williams. Five different Panthers scored in the first eight minutes, while the Falcons shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
The rest of the contest would prove much closer as Page County outscored Central 13-10 in the second frame and 12-10 in the third. The Falcons even found a way to go point-for-point with the home team in the final eight minutes, 15-15.
While Central had no one in double-digits, the Falcons got eight points from three seniors — Benjamin Walters, Wilmer Barahona and Zachary Cooper. Sophomore Luke Williams had seven.
Page County spread out the scoring among eight players. Behind Williams, senior Hayden Plum posted 10 points, while junior Noah Lucas had seven and junior Seth Cloude had six.
A key difference in the game was simply shooting. Central shot a mere 17 percent from the floor in the first half, which allowed Page to build a lead while hitting 68 percent of their shots. In the second half Central doubled their output, hitting about 38 percent of their shots — but the Panthers didn’t cool down much, as they hit for 52 percent from the floor in the second half.
While capitalizing on the athleticism of seniors like Williams and Plum, the Panthers are also developing young talent in freshmen Issac Foltz and Caden Combs. Foltz had four points and some key minutes in each of the last two victories, while Combs went two-for-two from the free throw line in the fourth against Central.
While Madison (7-4), East Rockingham (6-4) and Clarke (5-5) currently stand at the top of the Bull Run District, Page County is clearly a team that is emerging as a contender down the stretch in a district that could still be wide open.
With the win, the Panthers move to 6-6 overall and 2-4 in the Bull Run. Next up, Page County plays two road games next week, at Mt. View on Monday night and at East Rockingham on Friday.
With the loss, Central drops to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the Bull Run. The Falcons will play four games next week, beginning with James Wood at home Monday night.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Player of the Game“.
Williams posted a game-high 20 points to lead Page in scoring, and has recorded 38 points in the last two wins. The senior hit four shots from beyond the arc and had 16 of Page County’s 29 points in the first half against Central.