One could hear the frustration in head coach Dave Naser’s voice as he talked about the Rappahannock County High School Scholastic Bowl team’s performance Monday night at Strasburg.
“It’s the same questions that keep coming up time after time, and we’re not getting them,” Naser said, after the Panthers split their matches, defeating Strasburg, 240-170, but losing to Manassas Park, 190-145. “We missed one that came up on the bus ride over to Strasburg. They have no retention. They need to work harder if they want to win.”
After Monday night’s matches, the Panthers are tied at 5-5 in the Group A Bull Run District. They sit in fourth place behind George Mason, Manassas Park and Clarke County.
They face host George Mason, Madison and Clarke County Monday night in Falls Church, before taking a three-week holiday break.
“We can catch anyone in this district except for George Mason (the defending state champion),” Rappahannock County senior captain Malcolm Perry said. “I don’t know what it is with us this season.”
In the Monday night opener against Manassas Park, the Panthers found themselves down 90-45 after the first round of toss-up questions.
Normally, Rappahannock County plays catch-up in the 10-question, directed round, often scoring 70 to 100 points.
This time, it could only amass 40 points.
“That match was just horrible for us,” Rappahannock County freshman Danny Collins said. “They were beating us to the buzzer, and we never got anything going.”
“Down 45 points in the beginning,” he said, “and we never closed the gap.”
Collins led all Rappahannock County scorers with 40 points. Perry had 35, while junior Clayton Hatcher added 30.
The Panthers looked as if they would continue with another poor performance in their match with Strasburg. They found themselves down, 90-40, after the opening round.
“We made up for it in the directed round,” Naser said, as Rappahannock County outscored the Rams, 90-50, and pulled within, 140-130, “and never looked back.”
In the final toss-up round, the Panthers outscored Strasburg, 110-30.
Collins said a correct answer on a pop culture question from junior Katie Hale sparked the rally.
“Katie got that first question. I got the next two, and it was game, set and match,” he added. “We definitely got on a roll.”
Against Strasburg, Collins had 70 points, including 60 in the final round. Perry had 55. Hatcher and Hale each had 15 and 10, respectively.
While Naser liked the rally that his Panthers staged, he said that they need to become more consistent if they want to challenge for a chance to advance to the Region B tournament in February.
“I hate to sound negative, but I don’t see us coming out of the playoffs unless we get some consistency,” Naser said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Panthers outgunned, outnumbered on basketball court
The numbers game is hurting Rappahannock County’s varsity boys basketball team.
Head coach Terrence Johnson looks down his roster of just seven players and cannot figure out how he can jump start the program.
“This doesn’t add up. It’s shocking,” Johnson said, shaking his head after the Panthers dropped an 85-24 decision against William Monroe Monday night. “I was told by a lot of students that they played basketball. They would be out here. Now, I’m playing a numbers game.”
Rappahannock’s seven players include seniors D’Angelo Robinson and David Williams, juniors Brian Baumgardner and Alex Jung, sophomores Grayson Love and Issac Berry and freshman Billy Hogan.
If a player or two fouls out or there are injuries, the Panthers may play short-handed in a game.
“We cannot compete like this,” Johnson said.
The lack of numbers showed in Rappahannock County’s first two games, both huge losses to William Monroe, a Group AA school in Greene County whose numbers are dwindling and will join the Group A Bull Run District next fall.
Monday night, Rappahannock County got nine points each from Robinson and Berry in the 85-24 loss.
William Monroe led, 30-9, after one quarter and 49-11 at intermission.
The Dragons have several players over six feet with substantial game experience. They took advantage of Rappahannock’s lack of size, quickness and numbers, and Johnson believes they scored 75 points off Panther mistakes and an effective full-court press.
“We just do not have the numbers to compete with that,” he said. “We’re very undisciplined. We treat the ball like it’s a hot potato.”
In Wednesday’s season opener, Hogan had 10 points and Williams added nine in the 81-26 loss.
The Panthers hung with the Dragons in the first quarter, trailing, 14-11. But William Monroe scored 26 points in the second quarter to put the game away.
What could make the difference, Johnson said, is a sudden surge in interest from some of Rappahannock County’s students who are not playing a sport this winter.
“I see a lot of potential walking up and down the halls here,” he added. “I can’t force them to play, but I would hope that they would want to play.” — C.K.