Coming off a pair of tough opponents last week with William Monroe and Western Albemarle, the Fluvanna County girls bounced back with a road win over Albemarle to start their second week of January on a solid note in a 45-43 win that saw both teams throw run and after run at each other.
“It’s always like this with Albemarle, you just figure it’s going to come down to the end,” said Fluvanna coach Chad White. “I don’t care what the score is, we could have been up 15 and it would come down to the end.”
Close. It was the run at the start of the fourth that made the difference though. The Flucos held a 31-29 going into the fourth, but with Nevaeh Ivory and Jules Shepherd getting things done attacking the basket and at the free throw line, a 9-1 run put Fluvanna up 40-30 with 4:57 to go.
“It was really hard, we had to keep the energy up throughout the whole game,” Ivory said. “We had to trust our players and play as a team.”
With Fluvanna doing everything in its power to keep Marquela Wilson from having success in the paint thanks to defense from Mya Wright and Khamare Steppe while at the same time going to work on the clock offensively, Albemarle was forced to start fouling with just under two minutes to play. The Flucos were able to keep their distance for the most part, but not without the Patriots nibbling away.
“We have to start winning the battles of the runs more consistently to take a lead and hold on to it,” said Patriots coach Rachel Proudfoot. “I thought we had a nice 2-2-1 zone that slowed them down a bit offensively and we had great help defense because they outsize us a bit but in the end, but yea, it’s just the consistency that we need to get going through all four quarters.”
While the Flucos were able to keep a two-possession lead through most of the next two minutes, Albemarle inched closer with Lyric Branch and Jamie Radmacher both finishing underneath to make it a 2-point game. But with no timeouts in hand for Albemarle, Radmacher’s basket with 3.9 seconds left allowed the Flucos to run out the clock at the baseline.
The first half was a string of runs back-and-forth. The Patriots started the game out with a 6-0 run led by Makenna Winterton and Wilson but once Ivory got Fluvanna on the board at 8-2, the Flucos strung together a 13-0 run with Ivory, Steppe and Wright all chipping in to turn a six point deficit into a five point lead.
With a pair of free throws from Wilson to end the first quarter, Albemarle embarked on a 12-1 run highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Winterton and Radmacher to make it 20-13. The Flucos were able to stop the bleeding with some offense from Shepherd and Rosalee Hill but an and-1 from Wilson sent the Patriots into the break with a 23-19 advantage. But Fluvanna locked down on Wilson in the second.
“That was huge and the biggest thing was keeping Wilson off the boards because she’s developed a great game,” White said. “It’s tough but it keeps her from scoring. That was the goal coming in and in the second half we got it done.”
Ivory led all scorers with 16 points while also collecting five rebounds. Steppe had a game high 15 rebounds to go along with seven points. Shepherd chipped in 12 points with 10 of those coming in the second half.
For the Patriots, Wilson had 14 points with 12 of those coming in the first half. Rademacher had nine points while Winterton had eight.
Fluvanna hosts Monticello today while Albemarle gets a road game with Orange County.