Eagle three-pointers overcome Brentsville in Bull Run

MANASSAS PARK — After losing 63-44 in Friday’s Bull Run District final against Clarke County, Brentsville coach Doug Poppe joked that they should tighten the rims to prevent the Eagles from shooting so well should they meet again in the postseason.

On Friday night, that gimmick probably wouldn’t have worked either.

The Eagles, ranked No. 5 in Group A, unleashed a torrent of three-pointers in the first half to take a 36-19 halftime lead and never were threatened the rest of the game. Clarke County (20-3) hit eight three-pointers in the first half and 10 for the game to beat Brentsville for the second time in three matchups.

“There might be a couple of things we do [differently] but nothing drastic,” Poppe said of a possible Region B matchup. “You get a team shooting like that, it’s tough.”

For Clarke County, point guard Jerrell Clarke had eight of his 16 points in the first quarter and teammate Derek Underwood hit three of his four three-pointers in the first half.

In the Tigers’ 38-36 win over the Eagles a month ago, Clarke was largely ineffective and had his shot blocked in the final minute to set up Brentsville’s game-winning shot by Sam Huff. However, on Friday, Clarke played well off the dribble and also connected on a trio of three-pointers.

“After last night, we knew he [Clarke] was coming on,” Poppe said. “The kid is playing well now. I think that’s what they were lacking [before] was a guard like that.”

District Player of the Year Damien Hubbard, who scored 21 points including 10-of-11 at the free throw line, said the Eagles’ early energy was the difference.

“We were just hyped for this game from the get-go,” Hubbard said. “Since we lost the last game [to Brentsville], we felt we let that slip away. But we made up for it.”

The Tigers (16-8) started off in a man-to-man defense but fell behind quickly thanks to several turnovers and lights-out shooting from the Eagles.

Down 21-4 after the first quarter, Brentsville resorted to a 1-3-1 zone which temporarily bothered Clarke County. The Tigers went on a 7-0 run, capped off with a layup by Joe Lavely, to slice the deficit to 21-11.

However, Jason Reid connected on a three-pointer from the right corner, and after a layup by Brentsville’s Ramsey Boyd, Hubbard drilled a deep three-pointer from near the top of the key to give the Eagles a comfortable 27-13 margin.

The Tigers cut it to 12 points twice more in the half but could get no closer the rest of the game.

Poppe felt like Brentsville may have been a tad flat emotionally after pulling out a hard-fought 45-41 overtime victory over Madison County in the semifinals on Thursday.

“We came from behind last night, from 10 down, and that wore on us,” Poppe said. “They had a little easier game the night before. It was an emotional game and I think some of that emotion kind of drained us.”

Brian Owen had 11 points to pace Brentsville, which is the No. 1 Bull Run seed in the Region B Tournament that starts Tuesday night. Owen was selected as second team all-district while Lavely, a senior, was voted to the first team.

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