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Shaky shooting, few rebounds cost Fauquier vs. James Wood boys basketball

Tuesday, Dec. 3 | By Jeff Malmgren

Jay Jay Roberts had 18 points and six rebounds, but his Fauquier Falcons lost to James Wood, 73-58, Tuesday. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Defensively, James Wood used a zone.

Fauquier's shooters were far from in one.

Despite a hot finish, the Falcons made only 35 percent of their field goal attempts Tuesday during a season-opening loss, 73-58, to the Colonials at home in Warrenton.

To make matters worse, the Falcons didn't rebound many of their missed shots. Despite a flurry of rebounds in the final minutes, Fauquier finished with only 27 to James Wood's 37.

"They thumped us," Fauquier coach Wayne Brizzi said. "We didn't have the quality possessions … especially in the second half. Both defensively and offensively."

The Colonials often used a 2-3 zone defense, and Fauquier gave them no reason to switch out of it. The Falcons went 0-for-12 on 3-point attempts in the first half and finished 5-for-22 only because Dana Rector went 3-for-3 in the final 92 seconds of the game.

"They focus on getting the ball to the rim," James Wood coach Tim Wygant said of the Falcons' offense. "A lot of their offensive strategies have cutters to the basket. … Our guys closed out extremely well on their outside shooters and really took care of" rebounding.

Fauquier finished with 10 offensive rebounds, but seven came in the fourth quarter when the Colonials already led by more than 15 points. James Wood took a 16-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, a 34-27 advantage at halftime and a 56-41 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Fauquier seniors Jeremiah Blackwell and Jay Jay Roberts – the team's two returning starters – combined for 38 points, but Rector, a junior transfer from Orange, was the only other player to make more than one field goal.

"They couldn't buy a shot," Brizzi said. "We need some other people stepping up a little bit, and I think we'll have some guys."

Blackwell led the Falcons with 20 points, while Roberts had 18.

Eighteen turnovers helped limit Fauquier's offense, too. The Falcons turned the ball over seven times in the third quarter, which helped James Wood build a 21-point lead early in the fourth.

"The kids came in the locker room [at halftime] and really felt like they needed to pick up the defensive intensity," Wygant said. "Committing to be a defensive powerhouse – I think they really did that."

"We've got to stop making lazy passes," Roberts said. "Make sure we're wide open."

Ryland Williams led James Wood with five steals, while Peyton Crickman had three. Williams also had a game highs with 28 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Crickman had 18 points. Nick Goode added eight points and five rebounds, while Branson Ratleif had eight rebounds.

The Falcons finished with only five assists, while Roberts led Fauquier with six rebounds and Blackwell had four.

"We've got to find some people to rebound," Brizzi said. "Group effort."

Lareco Robinson, a 6-foot-3 sophomore forward, had three rebounds despite first entering the game with fewer than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. His role should expand as the season moves on, which could help Fauquier on the boards.

Rector also came off the bench and made a case for an expanded role. The 5-8 junior guard showed quickness and strong handle. While he doesn't have a textbook shot, he made nearly every attempt.

"Tonight he was shooting the ball pretty well," Brizzi said. "Sometimes you get that positive reinforcement by having some success and it can definitely snowball. You start believing and continue to do it."

Wygant, meanwhile, is hoping his Colonials can continue winning. The victory Tuesday was his first as a head coach after graduating from James Wood in 2000 and serving as an assistant there for eight seasons

"I said, 'Congratulations on your first win, too bad it had to be against me,'" Brizzi said. "He said, 'I'm sorry about that.'

"I said, 'No you ain't. Don't lie to me.'"

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